On the 20th March 2021 an article was published in the Daily Telegraph by journalist Kirsty Buchanan. It detailed the astonishing story of a political activist, the late George Miller, and his association in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s with a group of British students. The grandson of a Russian émigré, George lived in Lewisham, south-east London, and devoted his life to hastening the end of Soviet rule in Russia. He likened the Soviet Union to an elephant being repeatedly bitten by mosquitos. One bite would not be enough to topple the elephant, he argued, but in time the animal would succumb to the constant onslaught, fall over and die.
During this time these students were secretly recruited and trained in ‘The House of Secrets’, his residence in London. They went on to enter Soviet bloc countries and to smuggle out the uncensored work of dissidents detailing what life was like under totalitarian rule. George was at the centre of this recruitment campaign – he headed the UK arm of the National Alliance of Russian Solidarists, known by its Russian abbreviation NTS, which, in contrast to Marxist ideology, believed in the “sanctity of the individual”.
This group of 60 young men and women, known as ‘the couriers’, were not drawn from the ranks of left-wing activists, but from a group of radical Conservative students who saw themselves as crusaders for liberal democracy. They went on to become senior figures in British politics, business, media and academia, and have never spoken publicly about their Soviet stories, until now!
The couriers were to prove a lifeline to dissidents who risked all to speak out against Communist oppression.Between 1977 and 1982, the KGB unleashed wave after wave of arrests against those campaigning for political freedom. In an age before mobile phones and the mass communication of emails and social media, the dissidents were determined to bring their truth to light. They forged links with the NTS both in Britain and across Europe, creating a network of political allies who helped smuggle information both in and out. At the time, few in the West believed the Soviet Union would ever crumble, but George Miller was convinced the end was near.
The production team behind the forthcoming film of the House of Secrets story include Producer, Pianist and Composer Vladimir Miller-Kurakin, George’s younger brother, who also lived in the House of Secrets. His access to contacts, archive and background knowledge of the NTS are second to none. The film’s Director / Editor is Clive Simmonds, who made the Channel 4 Dispatches film “Mother Russia’s Children”, which was awarded the RTS award for best overseas documentary in 1992. Over the past 20 years Clive and Vladimir have jointly created numerous Russian-based films.