In 1973, President Richard Nixon invited Chuck to attend a reception for Leonid Brezhnev at San Clemente in CA. It turned out that Mr. Brezhnev was a huge fan of American westerns and of Chuck in particular. At their meeting, Chuck presented the leader of the U.S.S.R. with a set of six-guns similar to those he used on his show Branded. Mr. Brezhnev in return invited Chuck to visit his country in Peace and Friendship. The picture of Mr. Brezhnev jumping into Chuck's arms and hugging him as he left was broadcast worldwide. When one journalist asked Chuck if he was a card-carrying Communist, he quipped, "No, I'm a card, carrying a Communist."
In response to the invitation Chuck traveled to the U.S.S.R. later that year and was warmly welcomed by the Russian people. He shot some hoops with the Russian basketball team, toured the Russian space center and the treasures of the Hermitage Museum. He paid his respects to the Russian War Dead and he met and talked with regular every day people in the streets of Moscow.
Chuck's fame and his personal friendliness to all he met did much to thaw any chilly images of Americans. It was something that Chuck was proud of having participated in although he received more than a little criticism in the press for cooperating in the film. The documentary was financed by the Russians and some thought was being used as propaganda. Chuck saw it as a way to improve relations between the people of the U.S. and those of the U.S.S.R.
Trip to Russia