LOS ANGELES -- An ebullient Katerina Lycheva, the 11-year-old Russian schoolgirl touring the United States on a goodwill mission, Monday criticized the movie 'Rocky IV' as a distortion of the Soviet people.
Following a breakfast ceremony during which she was given a beach ball printed as a world globe and a see-through handbag containing a swim suit and sunglasses, the Soviet girl stood before cameras and reporters to field questions about her views of America.
Speaking through an interpreter, the chestnut-haired girl with pale blue eyes recalled a visit to an elementary school in Houston -- one of five cities she has traveled through during her 10-day journey -- in which 'a little boy came up and said that he used to think the Soviet Union was something horrible.
'Then, the other day my mommy and I turned the television on at the hotel,' Katya, as her friends call her, added. 'And a film was showing 'Rocky IV.' And then having seen that movie I understood why the little boy thought what he did.
'There was not a word that was true in that film,' Katya said, speaking excitedly.
'Even the faces of the Soviet people were not the way they really are. Soviet people have friendly, open faces, and what they showed in the movie was something quite different. I was even frightened. ... I hadn't realized a distortion like that was possible.'
'Rocky IV' features actor Sylvester Stallone, clad in red, white and blue boxing trunks, engaged in a death duel with a brawny, blond-haired Russian automaton. Rocky prevails.
Katya, visiting the United States as a memorial to an American girl, Samantha Smith, who went to the Soviet Union on a mission of peace, was greeted by a flood of television lights as she entered the Hyatt Regency Hotel with her American traveling companion, 10-year-old Star Rowe of San Francisco.
She appeared quite comfortable with all the attention and smiled brightly as as the International Children's Choir performed 'It's A Small World,' and 'Let There Be Peace On Earth.'
After receiving an array of plaques and proclamations in her honor, Katya entertained a group of Commonwealth School children with a graceful, swirling Russian dance. She then went around the room handing out Russian postcards to each of the children.
Katya, who speaks little English, summoned a chorus of laughter when asked about her opinion of President Reagan.
'I only saw Mr. Reagan for four minutes (last week in Washington) so I can not pronounce any judgment on him,' she said.
She said she told him that Soviet children would like to ban all nuclear weapons. 'Then children would be able to live happily, because they can't while nuclear weapons are on Earth.
'Mr. Reagan said he would do his best toward that goal, and I think now no more weapons are again going to be accumulated. The ones already there are going to be done away with.'
After the news conference, the first that Katya has held on her peace tour, the Russian girl hopped aboard a school bus and headed to a Los Angeles elementary school before touring one of Hollywood's film studios.
At Universal Studios, the giggling young girl waved at Frankenstein, Charlie Chaplin and Woody Woodpecker and pecked at the giant teeth of King Kong.
'Look, there's the Russian girl,' tourists whispered as they turned away from Conan the Barbarian to see her.
Katya, who has made several children's films in the Soviet Union, appeared quite at home as she climbed into King Kong's huge hands and flashed a theatrical pose for the cameras.
On Tuesday, Katya is to attend a session of the Los Angeles City Council and then spend most of the day in Disneyland, the amusement park former Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev was denied permission to visit in the late 1950s.
Katya will leave Tuesday night for Mexico City. Her five-city tour began in Chicago March 21.
Traveling with Katya was Pat Montandon, head of the Children As Peacemakers foundation of San Francisco, which organized her visit as a memorial to Samantha Smith, the Maine youngster who visited Russia after writing to Soviet leaders.
Samantha was killed in a plane crash last year.
Star Rowe won a scholarship from the foundation and represented the organization on a tour of Eastern European countries in 1984. She was on crutches Monday with a twisted ankle, the result of a fall she took while in Houston.