Genrikh Borovik, a Soviet TV talk show host and longtime expert on the decadence of the West, made it to the annual prayer breakfast at the Pentagon.

Then early Wednesday afternoon, Borovik seized the podium at the Radisson conference center in Alexandria to tell a luncheon crowd of 650 what a group of Soviet clergy and American citizens had suggested to Pentagon officials: an encounter session between 50 Soviet soldiers and 50 American soldiers.

"Let them see each other face to face, not through the hole of a rifle," Borovik said to raucous applause. "Let them speak about their secrets, their girlfriends . . . their mothers. We've had a positive response from the chiefs at their prayer breakfast and from our Defense Ministry."

The applause became deafening.

The lunch punctuated the halfway point of a week-long summit, but not the kind of summit to which Washington is accustomed. Borovik, president of the Soviet Peace Committee, is but one of 100 Soviets and 450 Americans meeting in the first Soviet-American Citizens Summit, which ends today. Other participants include housewives, doctors, cosmonauts, musicians, arms controllers, philosophers, clergy and psychologists. The days have been spent in spirited discussion, schmoozing and frequent hugging.

Task force sessions have ranged from global politics to education to cooperation in space -- and the arts. Among the projects are journalist exchanges, reciprocal summer camps for children, and a film with a working title, "Cowboys and Cossacks."

But the pink-marbled and ficus tree-studded Radisson couldn't contain many of the participants for long. Soviet cosmonauts Svetlana Savitskaya and Georgy Grechko ran off on Wednesday to chat up Sen. Jake Garn, the shuttle veteran, about a trip to Mars. Soviet pop singer Alexander Gradsky sang in a black church and also staged a concert at George Washington University.

The idea came from a Washington state housewife who speaks not one word of Russian. Rama Vernon, director of the Center for Soviet-American Dialogue, a nonprofit Washington state group, began taking Americans to the Soviet Union back in 1985.

"I lived with the fear for my children they wouldn't have a world to grow up in," said Vernon, who has a mane of reddish hair and a Marilyn Monroe beauty mark. "I felt it was time I as a mother did something to contribute to the future of the world."

The fruits of her efforts include an agreement to build a conference center for exchanges near Moscow. The Soviets have also agreed to bring some of their top minds to America on a paid speaking tour, but it remains to be seen if Americans will be allowed to speak in the Soviet Union.

The Soviet sponsor is the Soviet Peace Committee, a group long known as a mouthpiece for Soviet political views. But under Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the group has had a face lift with the installation of Borovik as its head, and he says the group is changing.

A summit like this was a pipe dream just a short time ago, said Borovik, who was wearing a celery-colored shirt and a tightly checked sports jacket. "The people there would have thought it was not possible but the time has changed," he said. "We tried to make a delegation of new people, some orthodox thinkers and some new thinkers." The delegates for the summit were chosen by both sides.

"This is their perestroika we are part of," said conference organizer Barbara Marx Hubbard, the diminutive, white-haired daughter of a millionaire toy manufacturer. "We have insisted on having contact with all groups and the Soviet Peace Committee is opening up now." Hubbard has long aspired to lead the human race to a stage of evolution she defines as "the realization of our potential as a universal species, cocreative with God."

Whether conference efforts generate some follow-through is uncertain, but participants insist that results will come. "Some projects are crazy," said Borovik, "but the proposal for the INF agreement two years ago was utopian . . .

"We are seeing who will finance them, who will be in charge of them, how to find corresponding organizations" for projects, he said. Besides, he added, "we have the computer," a giant data base where information and progress reports will be readily accessible.

Scrawled on a huge sheet of white paper were the words: Networking, Educational Methods, Events, New Relationships. The "task force on psychology and social change" was meeting in one of the subterranean rooms of the Radisson, but the discussion was far more elementary than the group's title.

A gaggle of mostly female psychologists confronted Nikolai Potapov, Pravda's cultural editor. Under his breath, he quietly registered surprise to his Soviet interpreter that virtually all in the room were women.

Patricia Sun, a psychologist and group facilitator, went on about the right and left side of the brain, the logical and the intuitive, and how to think using both. "You have to trust your own gut" in expressing fears and feelings the logical side of the brain trains people to hide, she said.

Potapov stepped in with blandishments. "I was listening and thinking how educated American women are," he said. "What fine points of psychological mechanisms you are discussing." Potapov went on with the same point Soviets love to make: American kids are dummies about the Soviet Union.

"Why in majority do we know more about you than you about us? We publish a lot more of your literature than you ours." Soviet children are weaned on Harriet Beecher Stowe and O. Henry, he said. Potapov doesn't mention the other side of the story: a goodly share of Soviet books for youngsters that exaggerate racism and violence in America.

"How do you {take it when you} hear that their children read O. Henry?" one psychologist asked the group.

"Sadness," said another psychologist. "Here they eat Oh Henrys."

Valentin Chernyikh plopped down on the couch and said he was here because he had no choice.

Two years ago we had a revolution in film . . . now we have new administrative changes," said the goateed 52-year-old director of one of Moscow's film studios and the script writer for the Oscar-winning "Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears."

"Now I am a producer and I count money and look for partners. Before, I lived quietly." Under the new system, film studios get no more handouts, he said. They get a budget and if they aren't profitable, in five years they get shut down. "Here in America you live on self-financing all the time," he said.

Chernyikh is here to make contacts for his film "Cowboys and Cossacks," based on a real event. In 1927, after the Soviet Union's supply of horses nearly vanished in the wake of civil war, Cossacks came to Texas to replenish the supply. "There are still real participants in Russia who did this," he said. "We need a writer and we need someone who knows what things were like here in 1927," he continued, shyly fingering Moslem mother-of-pearl worry beads with a brilliant green tassle.

"I do my business here and I like very much how Americans discuss things and say things concretely," he said. He is here explaining several projects, including a film modeled on the work of Jewish writer Isaak Babel and one about the crushing dedication needed to become a Bolshoi dancer.

Americans, he insisted, are welcome to work for him in the Soviet Union, "only we don't pay as much." Independent American filming on Soviet territory used to be a rare event, but that too, he thinks, will change.

"Even if not one project gets done, it's worth it," said Alexander Gradsky, a 38-year-old rock musician and composer who looks like a Soviet version of John Lennon. Gradsky, light brown hair cascading to his shoulders, talked from behind smoke-colored glasses about his visit here.

"You see, in the societal sense we have a stereotype ... it's like we're playing football with each other," said Gradsky. "We try to cram the ball through the goals, but we have masked faces. This is like we are sitting on a field and talking in a natural situation where you take off the mask and you see the next person is like you."

The summit means opportunities for bringing two musical cultures together, he said.

"I have proposed joint concerts with Americans," he said. "Get three or four producers and some musicians and we can give a concert for the aid of hunger." Gradsky is here to see his friend John Denver and to snag the now-touring Sting into coming to Moscow.

Gradsky, who has no official job title, spoke of the changes back home and how unofficial groups are making contact with official ones.

"Even if I worked in the underground for a long time, nevertheless, I always considered the main idea was to get official organizations to recognize you," he said. "If I stay who I am on an LP, that is the winning of the battle." Gradsky made two records in the 1970s but now has 11 albums and has joined the Composers Union, which previously shunned rock music.

He's learned a lot about the differences in producing music here and there.

"If I sing well, Americans think it's natural things are published -- over there you have to be your own producer and I broke through that wall." But most of what he earns from concerts goes to Uncle Vanya and he winds up with much less than what top American rock stars earn.

"I take a percentage . . . of course it would be fair to get more but what I get is enough. But . . . we have a lot of advantages. I recorded my 11 records for free."

In the cloth-walled Chestnut Room, Jack Kidd, retired major general of the U.S. Air Force, demanded support from a group on global security for a 15-point, 15-year plan for ridding the world of nuclear weapons and solving the planet's economic woes through the help of a federated United Nations.

"The future of this world depends very much on the election of November 1988," said Kidd. He wants his plan endorsed by the summit participants to give him more clout in lobbying presidential candidates.

"Putting this idea on a list isn't going to do it. I am looking for power and the endorsement of the conference," he said.

Genrikh Trofimenko, a leader of the Institute of U.S. and Canada Studies, immediately dubbed the idea "vunderful," but the discussion quickly led nowhere. "The U.N. does not have power for a very good reason; it is not a representative power and it's not set up that way," said John Darnell, one participant.

Tobi Gati, vice president for policy studies at the United Nations Association, agreed. "It's not fair to the Soviets -- we have redefined the U.N. and I don't think they've grasped it," she said. "And if you think a Soviet endorsement of an American candidate is going to help, you're crazy." Still, Gati is all for the summit.

"What you do," she said, "is you make it possible to have alternate tracks into the Soviet Union."