Soviet Baby Named for Samantha Smith

Soviet postal stamp from 1985 featuring Samantha SmithIn 1982, 10-year-old American schoolgirl Samantha Smith wrote a letter to the head of the USSR, Yuri Andropov, asking him about the possibility of a nuclear war between the U.S. and the USSR.

Andropov wrote back. In his letter, he invited her to visit the USSR.

So, in July of 1983, Samantha and her parents spent two weeks visiting Russia. The trip was widely publicized in both countries.

Just two years later, Samantha was killed (along with her father) in a plane crash in her home state of Maine.

Several months after the crash, Moscow newspaper Trud reported that a baby girl born in Petrozavodsk, the capital of Karelia, had been named Samantha — “a name virtually unknown for Soviet girls” — in honor of Samantha Smith.

Source: “Soviet Baby Named for Samantha Smith.” Gadsden Times 13 Jan. 1986: C2.


2 thoughts on “Soviet Baby Named for Samantha Smith

  1. It seems to me that this Soviet baby wasn’t the only one named for Samantha Smith. I was working on the top 100 names in Lithuania stretching from 1946 onwards and I’ve noticed that Samanta was first used in 1983 in small numbers and jumped after her death to an extent that the name was at the bottom of the top 100 in 1987 and 1988. Samanta did not re-enter the top 100 until 1995 and it re-debuted spectacularly.

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