In the 1980's, when Gorbechov was opening Russia to the west, many changes were also happening in the USA. One of those changes was in our attitude toward the USSR. Most Americans liked Gorbechov and the changes he stood for. Yakov Smirnoff, a Russian comedian who defected to the USA, helped ease Cold War anxiety by supplying the USA with laughs. Something called 'Russomania' swept across the USA for a short time during 1985 and 1986.