And it ended more than three decades later with an exploration into a famous family's hidden history -- and an examination of a nation's tortured soul.
The old man was Vyacheslav Molotov, Josef Stalin's ruthless and powerful foreign minister. And the teenaged girl was Nina Khruscheva, great-granddaughter of the former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev -- Stalin's successor and Molotov's bitter rival.
The book that conversation ultimately inspired, "The Lost Khrushchev: A Journey Into The Gulag of the Russian Mind," was recently published in the United States. And on the latest Power Vertical Podcast, we discuss it -- and the Khrushchev legacy's relevance to today's Russia -- with the author.
Joining me are Nina Khrushcheva, a professor at the New School, and Merhat Sharipzhan, a senior correspondent and analyst for RFE/RL's Central Newsroom.
Listen to or download the podcast above or subscribe to "The Power Vertical Podcast" on iTunes.