Bugs in the Embassy: A Diplomatic Incident

The American embassy in Moscow. (Photo by Pars via Wikimedia Commons)
The American embassy in Moscow. (Photo by Pars via Wikimedia Commons)

On this date in 1985, construction on the new American Embassy in Moscow was suspended after listening devices were discovered.

Here are some things you may not have known about the diplomatic incident.

Construction on the new American Embassy began in 1979, using Soviet workers.

In 1985 the Americans discovered that the columns holding the building up contained many listening devices, also known as bugs.

In retaliation the Americans prevented the Soviets from moving into their new embassy in Washington DC.

Tensions begin easing in 1994 when the Soviets allowed the Americans to dismantle and rebuild the top four floors of the embassy, this time with American workers.

The Americans moved into the new embassy in 2000. However classified activities can only take place on the top four, bug-free floors.

Our question: which two future US presidents served as ambassador to Russia?


Today is Navy Day in the United States, Independence Day in Turkmenistan, and Flag Day in Greece.

It’s unofficially National Potato Day, National Boxer Shorts Day, and American Beer Day.

It’s the birthday of artist Roy Lichtenstein, who was born in 1923; writer Sylvia Plath, who was born in 1932; and actor John Cleese, who turns 67.

This week in 1985, the top song in the U.S. was “Saving All My Love for You” by Whitney Houston.

The No. 1 movie was “Jagged Edge,” while the novel “Texas” by James Michener topped the New York Times Bestsellers list.

Weekly question

Matthew Webb, who died trying to swim the Niagara River rapids, was the first person to complete what swimming feat?



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