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Story49 Presents “Through the Ice Curtain”

View of Provideniya from Komsomolskaya Bay. Photo: Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
View of Provideniya from Komsomolskaya Bay. Photo: Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

2.4 miles of water are all that separate the islands of Big and Little Diomede at their closest point.

Yet, for forty years during the Cold War, the people of Little Diomede were prohibited from seeing their friends and relatives across the water. That’s because Big Diomede is part of Russia, and Little Diomede is part of the United States. Between them was the so-called “Ice Curtain”: the Iron Curtain of the Bering Strait.

In this three-part radio series, we’ll find out how, little by little, the Ice Curtain melted and Alaskans and Russians were able to reunite. We’ll hear from some of the major players from this era, including Jim Stimpfle and Dixie Belcher. We’ll also meet people who are currently working to keep the border open as it threatens to ice over once more.

To join us for the three part series on the air, tune in to KNOM on the following dates. You can also listen using the audio players below after the first air date.

Episode One: “We Shall Overcome”
July 16th at 6pm; July 20th at 3pm


Episode Two: “The Russians Are Coming”
July 30th at 6pm; August 3rd at 3pm


Episode Three: “I’m A Dreamer, Too”
August 20th at 6pm; August 24th at 3pm


Image at top: View of Provideniya from Komsomolskaya Bay. Photo: Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that KNOM Radio Mission is located on the customary lands of Indigenous peoples. 

Based in the Bering Strait region, KNOM broadcasts throughout the homelands of the Iñupiaq, Siberian Yup’ik, Cup’ik and Yup’ik peoples.