MOSCOW (AP) _ As he left Moscow Monday night, American newsman Nicholas Daniloff read his colleagues a verse in Russian that he said best described his feelings on leaving the Soviet Union.

His voice strained with emotion, Daniloff read a poem written in 1840 by Mikhail Lermontov after the poet was exiled to the Caucasus region by the czar following a duel with the son of the French ambassador to Moscow.

Daniloff comes from a line of Russian gentry and military men. His great- great-grandfather was exiled to Siberia in 1825 for his role in the Decembrist uprising.

The poem, translated by The Associated Press, reads:

Farewell to you, unwashed Russia

Land of slaves, land of gentry

And to you, the blue uniforms

And to you, the people who obey them.

Maybe behind a Caucasian ridge

I will hide from your pashas,

From their all-seeing eyes,

From their all-hearing ears.