Visual History of the World
The Contemporary World
1945 to the present
After World War II, a new
world order came into being in which two superpowers, the United
States and the Soviet Union, played the leading roles. Their
ideological differences led to the arms race of the Cold War and
fears of a global nuclear conflict. The rest of the world was also
drawn into the bipolar bloc system, and very few nations were able
to remain truly non-aligned. The East-West conflict came to an end
in 1990 with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the consequent
downfall of the Eastern Bloc. Since that time, the world has been
driven by the globalization of worldwide economic and political
systems. The world has, however, remained divided: The rich nations
of Europe, North America, and East Asia stand in contrast to the
developing nations of the Third World.
The first moon landing made science-fiction dreams reality in the
Space technology has made considerable progress as the search for
possibilities of using space continues.
The Soviet Union and its Successor
see also: United Nations member states -
After the Second World War, all of Eastern Europe came under the
influence of Stalin's totalitarian system, which led the Soviet Union
into the Cold War. The system was relaxed to a degree under his
successors, who were increasingly bound to a "collective leadership."
The party's claim to autocratic rule was not seriously questioned until
Gorbachev. In the turbulent years of 1989-1991, the structure of the
Eastern bloc crumbled, and then the Soviet Union itself collapsed,
disintegrating into a federation of autonomous states. While the Central
European countries sought bonds with Western Europe, autocratic
presidential regimes established themselves in most of the former Soviet
The Great Famine-Genocide in Soviet Ukraine (Holodomor)
German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact
Great Purge and Intelligentsia
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Osip Emilyevich Mandelstam (also spelled
Mandelshtam) (Russian: Î́ñèï Ýìè́ëüåâè÷ Ìàíäåëüøòà́ì) (January 15 [O.S.
January 3] 1891 – December 27, 1938) was a Russian poet and essayist,
one of the foremost members of the Acmeist school of poets.
Life and work
Mandelstam was born in Warsaw to a wealthy Jewish family. His father, a
tanner by trade, was able to receive a dispensation freeing the family
from the pale of settlement, and soon after Osip's birth, they moved to
Saint Petersburg. In 1900, Mandelstam entered the prestigious
Tenishevsky school, which also counts Vladimir Nabokov and other
significant figures of Russian (and Soviet) culture among its alumni.
His first poems were printed in the school's almanac in 1907. In April
1908, Mandelstam decided to enter the Sorbonne to study literature and
philosophy, but he left the following year to attend the University of
Heidelberg. In 1911, in order to continue his education at the
University of Saint Petersburg, he converted to Methodism (which he did
not practice) and entered the university the same year.
poetry, acutely populist in spirit after the first Russian revolution,
became closely associated with symbolist imagery, and in 1911, he and
several other young Russian poets formed the "Poets' Guild" (Russian:
Öåõ Ïîýòîâ, Tsekh Poetov), under the formal leadership of Nikolai
Gumilyov and Sergei Gorodetsky. The nucleus of this group would then
become known as Acmeists. Mandelstam had authored the manifesto for the
new movement - The Morning Of Acmeism (1913, published in 1919). 1913
also saw the publication of his first collection of poems, The Stone
(Russian: Êàìåíü, Kamyen), to be reissued in 1916 in a greatly expanded
format, but under the same title.
In 1922, Mandelstam arrived in Moscow with his newly-wed wife Nadezhda.
At this time, his second book of poems, Tristia, was published in
Berlin. For several years after that, he almost completely abandoned
poetry, concentrating on essays, literary criticism, memoirs (The Din Of
Time, Russian: Øóì âðåìåíè, Shum vremeni; Ôåîäîñèÿ, Feodosiya - both
1925) and small-format prose (The Egyptian Stamp, Russian: Åãèïåòñêàÿ
ìàðêà, Yegipetskaya marka - 1928). As a day job, he translated (19 books
in 6 years), then worked as a correspondent for the newspaper The Irish
Times. Mandelstam's non-conformist, anti-establishment tendencies always
simmered not far from the surface, and in the autumn of 1933, they broke
through in form of the famous "Stalin Epigram". The poem, sharply
criticizing the "Kremlin highlander", was described elsewhere as a
"sixteen line death sentence," likely prompted by Mandelstam's seeing
(in the summer of that year, while vacationing in Crimea) the effects of
the Great Famine, a result of Stalin's collectivisation in the USSR and
his drive to exterminate the "kulaks". Six months later, Mandelstam was
Georgy Chulkov, Mariya Petrovykh, Anna Akhmatova, Osip Mandelstam
For Osip Mandelstam
And the town is frozen solid in a vice,
Trees, walls, snow, beneath a glass.
Over crystal, on slippery tracks of ice,
the painted sleighs and I, together, pass.
And over St Peter’s there are poplars, crows
there’s a pale green dome there that glows,
dim in the sun-shrouded dust.
The field of heroes lingers in my thought,
Kulikovo’s barbarian battleground.
The frozen poplars, like glasses for a toast,
clash now, more noisily, overhead.
As though it was our wedding, and the crowd
were drinking to our health and happiness.
But Fear and the Muse take turns to guard
the room where the exiled poet is banished,
and the night, marching at full pace,
of the coming dawn, has no knowledge
Mandelstam and Achmatova
However, after the customary
pro forma inquest, he not only was spared his life, but the sentence did
not even include labor camps - a miraculous event, usually explained by
historians as owing to Stalin's personal interest in his fate.
Mandelstam was "only" exiled to Cherdyn in Northern Ural with his wife.
After his attempt to commit suicide, the sentence was softened, and he
was banished from the largest cities, but otherwise allowed to choose
his new place of residence. He and his wife chose Voronezh.
NKVD photo after the
NKVD photo after the
Ìû æèâåì, ïîä ñîáîþ íå ÷óÿ
Íàøè ðå÷è çà äåñÿòü øàãîâ íå ñëûøíû,
õâàòèò íà ïîëðàçãîâîðöà,
Òàì ïðèïîìíÿò êðåìë¸âñêîãî
Åãî òîëñòûå ïàëüöû, êàê ÷åðâè, æèðíû,
À ñëîâà, êàê
ïóäîâûå ãèðè, âåðíû,
Òàðàêàíüè ñìåþòñÿ óñèùà,
À âîêðóã íåãî ñáðîä òîíêîøåèõ
Îí èãðàåò óñëóãàìè ïîëóëþäåé.
Êòî ñâèñòèò, êòî
ìÿó÷èò, êòî õíû÷åò,
Îí îäèí ëèøü áàáà÷èò è òû÷åò,
Êàê ïîäêîâó, êóåò çà óêàçîì óêàç:
Êîìó â ïàõ, êîìó â ëîá, êîìó â áðîâü, êîìó â ãëàç.
êàçíü ó íåãî - òî ìàëèíà
È øèðîêàÿ ãðóäü îñåòèíà.
translation by Darran Anderson
We live, not feeling the earth
At ten paces our words evaporate.
But when there’s the will to crack open our mouths
our words orbit the Kremlin mountain man.
Murderer, peasant killer.
His fingers plump as grubs.
His words drop like lead weights.
His laughing cockroach whiskers.
The gleam of his boot rims.
Around him a circle of chicken-skinned
sycophantic half-beings for him to toy with.
One whines, another purrs, a third snivels
as he babbles and points.
He forges decrees to be flung
at the groin, the face, the eyes.
He rolls the liquidations on his tongue
delicacies for the barrel-chested Georgian.
This proved a temporary reprieve. In
the coming years, Mandelstam would (as was expected of him) write
several poems which seemed to glorify Stalin (including Ode To Stalin),
but in 1937, at the outset of the Great Purge, the literary
establishment began a systematic assault on him in print -- first
locally, and soon after that from Moscow -- accusing him of harboring
anti-Soviet views. Early the following year, Mandelstam and his wife
received a government voucher for a vacation not far from Moscow; upon
their arrival in May 1938, he was promptly arrested again and charged
with "counter-revolutionary activities".
Four months later,
Mandelstam was sentenced to hard labor. He arrived at a transit camp
near Vladivostok and managed to pass a note to his wife back home with a
request for warm clothes; he never received them. The official cause of
his death is an unspecified illness.
Mandelstam's own prophecy was
"Only in Russia is poetry
respected – it gets people killed.
Is there anywhere else where poetry is so common a motive for murder?"
Nadezhda Mandelstam presented her account
of the events surrounding her husband's life in "Hope against Hope"
and later continued with Hope Abandoned.
Varlam Shalamov's short story "Sherry
Brandy" was written as a fictional description of Mandelstam's death
in a Soviet Union GULAG transit camp near Vladivostok.
After the end of the Stalin era, Mandelstam was rehabilitated in 1956,
when he was exonerated from the charges brought against him in 1938. On
October 28, 1987, he was also exonerated from the 1934 charges and thus
born June 11 [June 23, New Style], 1889, Bolshoy Fontan, near
Odessa, Ukraine, Russian Empire
died March 5, 1966, Domodedovo, near Moscow
pseudonym of Anna Andreyevna Gorenko Russian poet recognized at her
death as the greatest woman poet in Russian literature.
Akhmatova began writing verse at the age of 11 and at 21 became a
member of the Acmeist group of poets, whose leader, Nikolay Gumilyov,
she married in 1910 butdivorced in 1918. The Acmeists, through their
periodical Apollon (“Apollo”; 1909–17), rejected the esoteric
vagueness and affectations of Symbolism and sought to replace them
with “beautiful clarity,” compactness, simplicity, and perfection of
form—all qualities in which Akhmatova excelled from the outset.
Herfirst collections, Vecher (1912; “Evening”) and Chyotki (1914;
“Rosary”), especially the latter, brought her fame. While
exemplifying the best kind of personal or even confessional poetry,
they achieve a universal appeal deriving from their artistic and
emotional integrity. Akhmatova's principal motif is love, mainly
frustrated and tragic love, expressed with an intensely feminine
accent andinflection entirely her own.
Later in her life she added to her main theme some civic, patriotic,
and religious motifs but without sacrifice of personal intensity or
artistic conscience. Her artistry and increasing control of her
medium were particularly prominent in her next collections: Belaya
staya (1917; “The White Flock”), Podorozhnik (1921; “Plantain”), and
Anno Domini MCMXXI (1922). This amplification of her range, however,
did not prevent official Soviet critics from proclaiming her
“bourgeois and aristocratic,” condemning her poetry for its narrow
preoccupation with love and God, and characterizing her as half nun
and half harlot. The execution in 1921 of her former husband,
Gumilyov, on charges of participation in an anti-Soviet conspiracy
(the Tagantsev affair) further complicated her position. In 1923 she
entered a period of almost complete poetic silence and literary
ostracism, and no volume of her poetry was published in the Soviet
Union until 1940. In that year several of her poems were published
in the literary monthly Zvezda (“The Star”), and a volume of
selections from her earlier work appeared under the title Iz shesti
knig (“From Six Books”). A few months later, however, it was
abruptly withdrawn from sale and libraries. Nevertheless, in
September 1941, following the German invasion, Akhmatova was
permitted to deliver an inspiring radio address to the women of
Leningrad [St. Petersburg]. Evacuated to Tashkent soon thereafter,
she read her poems to hospitalized soldiers and published a number
of war-inspired lyrics; a small volume of selected lyrics appeared
in Tashkent in 1943. At the end of the war she returned to
Leningrad, where her poems began to appear in local magazines and
newspapers. She gave poetic readings, and plans were made for
publication of a large edition of her works.
In August 1946, however, she was harshly denounced by the Central
Committee of the Communist Party for her “eroticism, mysticism, and
political indifference.” Her poetrywas castigated as “alien to the
Soviet people,” and she was again described as a “harlot-nun,” this
time by none other than Andrey Zhdanov, Politburo member and the
director of Stalin's program of cultural restriction. She was
expelled from the Union of Soviet Writers; an unreleased book of her
poems, already in print, was destroyed; and none of her workappeared
in print for three years.
Then, in 1950, a number of her poems eulogizing Stalin and Soviet
communism were printed in several issues of the illustrated weekly
magazine Ogonyok (“The Little Light”) under the title Iz tsikla
“Slava miru” (“From the Cycle ‘Glory to Peace' ”). This
uncharacteristic capitulation to the Soviet dictator—in one of the
poems Akhmatova declares: “WhereStalin is, there is Freedom, Peace,
and the grandeur of the earth”—was motivated by Akhmatova's desire
to propitiateStalin and win the freedom of her son, Lev Gumilyov,
who had been arrested in 1949 and exiled to Siberia. The tone of
these poems (those glorifying Stalin were omitted from Soviet
editions of Akhmatova's works published after his death) is far
different from the moving and universalized lyrical cycle, Rekviem
(“Requiem”), composed between 1935 and 1940 and occasioned by
Akhmatova's grief over an earlier arrest and imprisonment of her son
in 1937. This masterpiece—a poetic monument to the sufferings of the
Soviet peoples during Stalin's terror—was published in Moscow in
In the cultural “thaw” following Stalin's death, Akhmatova was
slowly and ambivalently rehabilitated, and a slim volume of her
lyrics, including some of her translations, was published in 1958.
After 1958 a number of editions of her works, including some of her
brilliant essays on Pushkin, were published in the Soviet Union
(1961, 1965, two in 1976, 1977); none of these, however, contains
the complete corpus of her literary productivity. Akhmatova's
longest work, Poema bez geroya (“Poem Without a Hero”), on which she
worked from 1940 to 1962, was not published in the Soviet Union
until 1976. This difficult and complex work is a powerful lyric
summation of Akhmatova's philosophy and her own definitive statement
on the meaning of her life and poetic achievement.
Akhmatova executed a number of superb translations of the works of
other poets, including Victor Hugo, Rabindranath Tagore, Giacomo
Leopardi, and various Armenian and Korean poets. She also wrote
sensitive personal memoirs on Symbolist writer Aleksandr Blok, the
artist Amedeo Modigliani, and fellow Acmeist Osip Mandelshtam.
In 1964 she was awarded the Etna-Taormina prize, an international
poetry prize awarded in Italy, and in 1965 she received an honorary
doctoral degree from Oxford University. Her journeys to Sicily and
England to receive these honours were her first travel outside her
homeland since 1912. Akhmatova's works were widely translated,
andher international stature continued to grow after her death. Atwo-volume
edition of Akhmatova's collected works was published in Moscow in
1986, and The Complete Poems of Anna Akhmatova, also in two volumes,
appeared in 1990.
Not under foreign skies
Nor under foreign wings protected -
I shared all this with my own people
There, where misfortune had abandoned us.
INSTEAD OF A PREFACE
During the frightening years of the
Yezhov terror, I
spent seventeen months waiting in prison queues in
Leningrad. One day, somehow, someone 'picked me out'.
On that occasion there was a woman standing behind me,
her lips blue with cold, who, of course, had never in
her life heard my name. Jolted out of the torpor
characteristic of all of us, she said into my ear
(everyone whispered there) - 'Could one ever describe
this?' And I answered - 'I can.' It was then that
something like a smile slid across what had previously
been just a face.
[The 1st of April in the year 1957. Leningrad]
Mountains fall before this grief,
A mighty river stops its flow,
But prison doors stay firmly bolted
Shutting off the convict burrows
And an anguish close to death.
Fresh winds softly blow for someone,
Gentle sunsets warm them through; we don't know this,
We are everywhere the same, listening
To the scrape and turn of hateful keys
And the heavy tread of marching soldiers.
Waking early, as if for early mass,
Walking through the capital run wild, gone to seed,
We'd meet - the dead, lifeless; the sun,
Lower every day; the Neva, mistier:
But hope still sings forever in the distance.
The verdict. Immediately a flood of tears,
Followed by a total isolation,
As if a beating heart is painfully ripped out, or,
Thumped, she lies there brutally laid out,
But she still manages to walk, hesitantly, alone.
Where are you, my unwilling friends,
Captives of my two satanic years?
What miracle do you see in a Siberian blizzard?
What shimmering mirage around the circle of the moon?
I send each one of you my salutation, and farewell.
It happened like this when only the
Were smiling, glad of their release,
That Leningrad hung around its prisons
Like a worthless emblem, flapping its piece.
Shrill and sharp, the steam-whistles sang
Short songs of farewell
To the ranks of convicted, demented by suffering,
As they, in regiments, walked along -
Stars of death stood over us
As innocent Russia squirmed
Under the blood-spattered boots and tyres
Of the black marias.
You were taken away at dawn. I followed
As one does when a corpse is being removed.
Children were crying in the darkened house.
A candle flared, illuminating the Mother of God. . .
The cold of an icon was on your lips, a death-cold
On your brow - I will never forget this; I will gather
To wail with the wives of the murdered
Inconsolably, beneath the Kremlin towers.
[1935. Autumn. Moscow]
Silent flows the river Don
A yellow moon looks quietly on
Swanking about, with cap askew
It sees through the window a shadow of you
Gravely ill, all alone
The moon sees a woman lying at home
Her son is in jail, her husband is dead
Say a prayer for her instead.
It isn't me, someone else is suffering.
Not like this. Everything that has happened,
Cover it with a black cloth,
Then let the torches be removed. . .
Giggling, poking fun, everyone's
The carefree sinner of Tsarskoye Selo (2)
If only you could have foreseen
What life would do with you -
That you would stand, parcel in hand,
Beneath the Crosses (3), three hundredth in
Burning the new year's ice
With your hot tears.
Back and forth the prison poplar sways
With not a sound - how many innocent
Blameless lives are being taken away. . .
For seventeen months I have been
Calling you home.
I've thrown myself at the feet of butchers
For you, my son and my horror.
Everything has become muddled forever -
I can no longer distinguish
Who is an animal, who a person, and how long
The wait can be for an execution.
There are now only dusty flowers,
The chinking of the thurible,
Tracks from somewhere into nowhere
And, staring me in the face
And threatening me with swift annihilation,
An enormous star.
Weeks fly lightly by. Even so,
I cannot understand what has arisen,
How, my son, into your prison
White nights stare so brilliantly.
Now once more they burn,
Eyes that focus like a hawk,
And, upon your cross, the talk
Is again of death.
The word landed with a stony thud
Onto my still-beating breast.
Nevermind, I was prepared,
I will manage with the rest.
I have a lot of work to do today;
I need to slaughter memory,
Turn my living soul to stone
Then teach myself to live again. . .
But how. The hot summer rustles
Like a carnival outside my window;
I have long had this premonition
Of a bright day and a deserted house.
[22 June 1939. Summer. Fontannyi Dom (4)]
You will come anyway - so why not now?
I wait for you; things have become too hard.
I have turned out the lights and opened the door
For you, so simple and so wonderful.
Assume whatever shape you wish. Burst in
Like a shell of noxious gas. Creep up on me
Like a practised bandit with a heavy weapon.
Poison me, if you want, with a typhoid exhalation,
Or, with a simple tale prepared by you
(And known by all to the point of nausea), take me
Before the commander of the blue caps and let me
The house administrator's terrified white face.
I don't care anymore. The river Yenisey
Swirls on. The Pole star blazes.
The blue sparks of those much-loved eyes
Close over and cover the final horror.
[19 August 1939. Fontannyi Dom]
Madness with its wings
Has covered half my soul
It feeds me fiery wine
And lures me into the abyss.
That's when I understood
While listening to my alien delirium
That I must hand the victory
However much I nag
However much I beg
It will not let me take
One single thing away:
Not my son's frightening eyes -
A suffering set in stone,
Or prison visiting hours
Or days that end in storms
Nor the sweet coolness of a hand
The anxious shade of lime trees
Nor the light distant sound
Of final comforting words.
[14 May 1940. Fontannyi Dom]
Weep not for me, mother.
I am alive in my grave.
A choir of angels glorified the greatest hour,
The heavens melted into flames.
To his father he said, 'Why hast thou forsaken me!'
But to his mother, 'Weep not for me. . .'
[1940. Fontannyi Dom]
Magdalena smote herself and wept,
The favourite disciple turned to stone,
But there, where the mother stood silent,
Not one person dared to look.
I have learned how faces fall,
How terror can escape from lowered eyes,
How suffering can etch cruel pages
Of cuneiform-like marks upon the cheeks.
I know how dark or ash-blond strands of hair
Can suddenly turn white. I've learned to recognise
The fading smiles upon submissive lips,
The trembling fear inside a hollow laugh.
That's why I pray not for myself
But all of you who stood there with me
Through fiercest cold and scorching July heat
Under a towering, completely blind red wall.
The hour has come to remember the dead.
I see you, I hear you, I feel you:
The one who resisted the long drag to the open window;
The one who could no longer feel the kick of familiar
soil beneath her feet;
The one who, with a sudden flick of her head, replied,
'I arrive here as if I've come home!'
I'd like to name you all by name, but the list
Has been removed and there is nowhere else to look.
I have woven you this wide shroud out of the humble
I overheard you use. Everywhere, forever and always,
I will never forget one single thing. Even in new
Even if they clamp shut my tormented mouth
Through which one hundred million people scream;
That's how I wish them to remember me when I am dead
On the eve of my remembrance day.
If someone someday in this country
Decides to raise a memorial to me,
I give my consent to this festivity
But only on this condition - do not build it
By the sea where I was born,
I have severed my last ties with the sea;
Nor in the Tsar's Park by the hallowed stump
Where an inconsolable shadow looks for me;
Build it here where I stood for three hundred hours
And no-one slid open the bolt.
Listen, even in blissful death I fear
That I will forget the Black Marias,
Forget how hatefully the door slammed and an old woman
Howled like a wounded beast.
Let the thawing ice flow like tears
From my immovable bronze eyelids
And let the prison dove coo in the distance
While ships sail quietly along the river.
[March 1940. Fontannyi Dom]
1 An elite guard which rose up
against Peter the Great in 1698. Most were either
executed or exiled.
2 The imperial summer residence outside St
Petersburg where Ahmatova spent her early years.
3 A prison complex in central Leningrad near the
Finland Station, called The Crosses because of the
shape of two of the buildings.
4 The Leningrad house in which Ahmatova lived.
Translated by Sasha Soldatow
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Soviet dissidents were citizens of the Soviet Union who disagreed
with the policies and actions of their government and actively protested
against these actions through non-violent means. Through such protests,
Soviet dissidents would incur harassment, persecution and ultimate
imprisonment by the KGB, or some other Soviet state policing arm.
From the mid-1970s, the term was first used in the Western media and
subsequently, with derision, by the Soviet propaganda: human rights
activists in the USSR came to use the term for self-designation as a
While dissent with Soviet policies and persecution for this dissent
existed since the times of the October Revolution and the establishment
of the Soviet power, the term is most commonly to the dissidents of the
Patriarch Ambrose of Georgia
Chronicle of Current Events (samizdat)
Dymshits-Kuznetsov hijacking affair
Michail J. Makarenko
Moscow Helsinki Group
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Andrei Alekseevich Amalrik (Russian:Àíäðåé Àëåêñååâè÷ Àìàëüðèê; May 12,
1938 - November 12, 1980), alternatively spelled Andrei or Andrey, was a
Russian writer and dissident.
Amalrik was best known in the Western world for his essay, Will
the Soviet Union Survive Until 1984?
He was one of the founders of the Soviet Democratic Movement.
Amalrik was born in Moscow, during the time of Stalin's purges.
When the Soviet revolution broke out, Andrei's father, then a young
man, volunteered for the Red army. After the war he went into the film
industry. Andrei's father fought in World War II in the Northern Fleet.
He was overheard uttering negative views about Stalin's qualities as a
military leader, which led to his arrest and imprisonment; he feared for
his life, but shortly afterwards was released to rejoin the army. In
1944 he was wounded at Stalingrad and invalided out of the service.
Andrei's father's hardships explain Andrei's decision to become a
historian. For his father, after climbing the educational ladder, was
after the war refused permission to study at the Academy of Sciences'
Institute of History on account of what authorities felt was his own
compromised political past. But as Historian John Keep wrote: "Andrei
has gone one better by not only writing history but by securing a place
Andrei's father developed a serious heart condition which required
constant nursing. This care was provided first by his wife, and on her
death from cancer in 1959 by his son Andrei, until Andrei's arrest
prevented him from ministering to his father's needs. He died when
Andrei was in prison.
In high school, Andrei Amalrik was a restless student and truant. He
was expelled a year before graduation. Despite this, he won admission to
the history department at Moscow State University in 1959.
In 1963, he angered the university with a dissertation suggesting
that Scandinavian warrior-traders and Greeks, rather than Slavs, played
the principal role in developing the early Russian state in the ninth
century. Amalrik refused to modify his views and was expelled from
First prison sentence
Without a degree, Amalrik did odd jobs and wrote five unpublished plays
but was soon under the gaze of the security police for an attempt to
contact a Danish scholar through the Danish Embassy. These plays and an
interest in modern non-representational art led to Amalrik's first
arrest in May 1965. A charge of spreading pornography failed because the
expert witnesses called by the prosecution refused to give the correct
testimony. However, the authorities then accused Amalrik of
"parasitism," and he was sentenced by an administrative tribunal to
banishment in western Siberia for a two-and-a-half-year term.
He was freed briefly and then rearrested and sent to exile in a farm
village near Tomsk, in Siberia. Allowed to make a brief trip to Moscow
after the death of his father, Amalrik persuaded Tatar expressionist
artist, Gyuzel Makudinova, to marry him and share his exile.
It was this exile he described in Involuntary Journey to Siberia.
Thanks to the efforts of his lawyer, his sentence was overturned in 1966
and Amalrik returned to Moscow, moving with Gyuzel into a crowded
communal apartment with one bath, one kitchen, and one telephone.
Protest at trial
During the Andrei Sinyavsky and Yuli Daniel trial in February 1966,
Amalrik and other dissenters stood outside of the trial to protest.
Amalrik often met with correspondents to relay protests, took part in
vigils outside courthouses and even gave an interview to an American
After the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, pressure on Russia's
intellectuals was stepped up by the authorities. Amalrik's apartment was
twice searched, in May 1969 and February 1970.
Will the Soviet Union Survive Until 1984?
Amalrik was best known in the Western world for his essay Will the
Soviet Union Survive Until 1984?, published in 1970. The book predicts
the country's eventual breakup under the weight of social and ethnic
antagonisms and a disastrous war with China.
Writing in 1969, Amalrik originally wanted to make 1980 as the date
of the Soviet downfall, because 1980 was a round number, but Amalrik was
persuaded by a friend to change it to the Orwellian 1984.] Amalrik
predicted the collapse of the regime would occur between 1980 and 1985.
Amalrik said in his book:
I must emphasize that my essay is based not
on scholarly research but only on observation. From an academic point of
view, it may appear to be only empty chatter. But for Western students
of the Soviet Union, at any rate, this discussion should have the same
interest that a fish would have for an ichthyologist if it suddenly
began to talk.
Amalrik was incorrect in some of his predictions, such as a coming
military collision with China, and the collapse of the Soviet Union
occurred in 1991, not 1984.. Correct was his argument that:
If...one views the present "liberalization" as the growing
decrepitude of the regime rather than its regeneration, then the logical
result will be its death, which will be followed by anarchy."
Amalrik predicted that when the breakup of the Soviet empire came, it
would take one of two forms. Either power would pass to extremist
elements and the country would "disintegrate into anarchy, violence, and
intense national hatred," or the end would come peacefully and lead to a
federation like the British Commonwealth or the European Common Market.
As 1984 drew nearer, Amalrik revised the timetable but still
predicted that the Soviet Union would eventually collapse.
Predictions of the Soviet Union's impending demise were discounted by
many, if not most, Western academic specialists, and had little impact
on mainstream Sovietology. "Amalrik's essay was welcomed as a piece of
brilliant literature in the West" but "[v]irtually no one tended to take
it at face value as a piece of political prediction."
Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky described that "in 1984 KGB officials,
on coming to me in prison" when Amalrik's essay was mentioned, "laughed
at this prediction. 'Amalrik is long dead', they said, 'but we are still
very much present.'"
Of those few who foresaw the fall of the Soviet Union, including Andrei
Amalrik, author Walter Laqueur argued in 1995 that they were largely
accidental prophets, possessors of both brilliant insight into the
regime's weaknesses and even more brilliant luck.
Second prison sentence
For several months after the publication of Will the Soviet Union
Survive Until 1984? (1970) and Involuntary Journey to Siberia (August
1970), abroad, a criminal offense under Soviet law, Amalrik remained
free to walk the streets of Moscow and to associate with foreigners.
Inevitably, for "defaming the Soviet state", Amalrik was arrested in
November 1970 and sentenced to three years in a labor camp in Kolyma.
At the end of his term, he was given three more years, but because of
his poor health (he almost died of meningitis) and protests from the
West, the sentence was commuted after one year to exile in the same
region. After serving a five year term, he returned to Moscow in 1975.
Although they were not Jewish, the authorities tried to persuade Amalrik
and his wife to apply for visas to Israel, the common channel for
emigration from the Soviet Union; they refused. On September 13, 1975,
Amalrik was arrested again. The police captain told his wife that he was
arrested for not having permission to live in Moscow; he could have
faced a fine or up to 1 year in prison for violating Soviet passport
The KGB gave Amalrik an ultimatum: to emigrate or face another sentence.
In 1976 his family got visas to go to the Netherlands. He made a
farewell tour of Russia before emigrating.
Amalrik worked in the Netherlands at the Utrecht University, then
moved to the United States to study and lecture. Later, he and Gyuzel
bought a villa in France, near the Swiss border, where he worked on his
book, Notebooks of a Revolutionary.
He scorned détente with the Soviet Union. He urged that Western trade
and technology be linked to liberalization within the Soviet Union.
On November 12, 1980, Amalrik, his wife, and two other Soviet exiles,
Vladimir Borisov and Viktor Feinberg, were on their way to Madrid to
attend an East-West conference called to review the Helsinki Accords of
1975. "Spanish police stated that Amalrik, coming from southern France,
swerved out of his lane on a wet road near the city of Guadalajara and
his car struck an oncoming truck. Mr. Amalrik was instantly killed by a
piece of metal, probably from the steering column, which was embedded in
his throat, according to the police. His widow, Gyuzel, received only
slight injuries," as did the two other passengers.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Larisa Iosifovna Bogoraz (full name: Larisa Iosifovna Bogoraz-Brukhman (Bogoraz
was her father's last name, Brukhman her mother's), Russian language:
Ëàðèñà Èîñèôîâíà Áîãîðàç-Áðóõìàí; August 8, 1929 - April 6, 2004) was a
dissident in the Soviet Union.
Born into a family of Communist Party bureaucrats, she graduated as a
linguist from Kharkov University in Ukraine, and in 1950, married her
first husband, Yuli Daniel, a writer. Together, they moved to Moscow.
Her marriage to Daniel would ultimately lead to her becoming involved
in activism. In 1965, Daniel and a friend of his, Andrei Sinyavsky, were
arrested for a number of writings that they had had published overseas
under pseudonyms (see Sinyavsky-Daniel trial). The trial of the two men
was the beginning of a crackdown on dissent under General Secretary
Leonid Brezhnev. They were both sent to terms in forced labor camps.
After their detention, Bogoraz wrote to Brezhnev in protest, despite
knowing that such an act could land her in prison.
"For our freedom and yours", one of the protester's banners,
1968Bogoraz became well known when, on August 25, 1968, she organized
seven people to protest in Red Square against the Soviet Union's
invasion of Czechoslovakia at the 1968 Red Square demonstration,
together with Pavel Litvinov, Natalya Gorbanevskaya, Vadim Delaunay and
other protesters. Although, KGB was not successful to determine who of
participants kept each banner, all the banners were qualified as "antisoviet".
For this, she was arrested, tried and sentenced to four years of exile
in Siberia, which she spent in a woodworking plant. L. Bogoraz is
mentioned in the song Ilyich (in Russian) by Yuliy Kim, available at
several sites. That song is about reaction of L. Brezhnev on the
demonstration catches the espiritu of the epoc of Brezhnev stagnation,
although at the time of writing of the song, the text of the letter of
Andropov to Central Committee was not available.
Daniel was released in 1970, while Bogoraz was still in Siberia.
Their marriage did not survive much longer, and they soon divorced.
However, soon after her release, Bogoraz resumed her resistance of the
Soviet regime. She signed many public appeals to the authorities. She
co-wrote an underground book, Memory, which detailed Stalin's terror and
was subsequently published overseas. She also contributed to the
underground publication Chronicle of Current Events. In 1975, she wrote
a letter to Yuri Andropov, who was the head of the KGB at the time,
requesting that he open the organization's archives.
She later married Anatoly Marchenko, another prominent dissident.
Together, they co-wrote a number of appeals. However, he was arrested in
1980, and unlike Daniel, did not survive his sentence. Bogoraz launched
a campaign in 1986 to have all political prisoners freed. The campaign
was successful, as the following year, General Secretary Mikhail
Gorbachev began releasing them. This came too late for Marchenko, who
died as a result of a hunger strike shortly before the initial release.
In 1989, Bogoraz joined, and subsequently became chairwoman of, the
newly re-founded Moscow Helsinki Group. She acted as a bridge between
the old guard of dissidents, and the new generation that were arising as
the Soviet Union collapsed.
After the demise of the Soviet Union, Bogoraz continued her activism,
visiting prisoners and holding seminars on the defense of human rights.
She also became chairwoman of the Seminar on Human Rights, a joint
Russian-American nongovernmental organization. She resigned from the
latter in 1996, but continued to exert influence in human rights circles
up until her death.
Not long before her death, she issued an open letter condemning both
the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia and the 2003 Iraq War. She died on
April 6, 2004, aged 74, after a series of strokes
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
30 Yelena Bonner (left), A.Sakharov in Moscow, 1977
Yelena Georgevna Bonner (Russian: Åëåíà Ãåîðãèåâíà Áîííýð) (born
February 15, 1923) is a human rights activist in the former Soviet Union
and widow of the late Andrei Sakharov.
Yelena (Lusik) Bonner was born in Merv (now Mary), Turkmenistan, USSR to
Ruth Bonner, a Jewish Communist activist. Her father was Georgy
Alikhanov (né Gevork Alikhanyan, who had fled the Armenian Genocide in
1915 to Tbilisi), a prominent Armenian Communist and a secretary of the
Comintern. She had a younger brother, Igor, who became a career naval
Her parents were both arrested in 1937 during Stalin's Great Purge;
her father was executed and her mother served eight years term at a
forced labor camp near Karaganda, Kazakhstan, followed by internal
exile. Elena's 41-year-old uncle, Ruth's brother Matvei Bonner, was also
executed during the Purge, and his wife internally exiled. All four were
exonerated, following Stalin's death in 1953.
Serving as a nurse during World War II, Bonner was wounded twice, and
in 1946 was honorably discharged as a disabled veteran. After the war
she earned a degree in pediatrics from the First Leningrad Medical
Institute. In 1965 she joined Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
Her first husband was Ivan Semenov (or Semyonov), her classmate at
medical school, by whom she had two children, Tatiana and Alexei, both
of whom emigrated to the United States in 1977 and 1978, respectively,
as a result of state pressure and KGB-style threats. Elena and Ivan
Beginning in the 1940s, she helped political prisoners and their
families, in the late 1960s, she became active in the Soviet human
rights movement. In 1972 she married nuclear physicist and human rights
activist Andrei Sakharov. Under pressure from Sakharov, the regime
permitted her to travel to the West in 1975, 1977, and 1979 for
treatment of her wartime eye injury. When Sakharov, awarded the 1975
Nobel Peace Prize, was barred from travel by the Soviets, Bonner, in
Italy for treatment, represented him at the ceremony in Oslo.
Bonner became a founding member of the Moscow Helsinki Group in 1976.
When in January 1980 Sakharov was exiled to Gorky, a city closed to the
foreigners, the harassed and publicly denounced Bonner became his
lifeline traveling between Gorky and Moscow to bring out his writings.
Her arrest in April 1984 for "anti-Soviet slander" and sentence to five
years of exile in Gorky disrupted their lives again. Sakharov’s several
long and painful hunger strikes forced the new Soviet leader, Mikhail
Gorbachev to let her travel to the U.S. in 1985 for sextuple bypass
heart surgery. Prior to that, in 1981, Bonner and Sakharov went on a
dangerous but ultimately successful hunger strike together to get Soviet
officials to allow their daughter-in-law, Yelizaveta Konstantinovna
("Lisa") Alexeyeva, an exit visa to join her husband, Elena's son Alexey
Semyonov, in the United States.
In December 1986 Mikhail Gorbachev allowed Sakharov and Bonner to
return to Moscow. Following Sakharov's death December 14, 1989, she
established the Andrei Sakharov Foundation, and the Sakharov Archives in
Moscow. In 1993, she donated Sakharov papers in the West to Brandeis
University in the U.S.; in 2004 they were turned over to Harvard
Bonner remains outspoken on democracy and human rights in Russia and
worldwide. She joined the defenders of the Russian parliament during the
August Coup and supported Boris Yeltsin during the constitutional crisis
in early 1993.
In 1994, outraged by what she called “genocide of the Chechen
people”, Bonner resigned from Yeltsin's Human Rights Commission and is
an outspoken opponent to Russian armed involvement in Chechnya and
critical of the Kremlin for allegedly returning to KGB-style
authoritarianism under Vladimir Putin. She is also critical of the
European Union policy towards Israel.
Elena Bonner divides her time between Moscow and the U.S., home to
her two children, five grandchildren, and one great grandson.
Works and awards
Bonner is the author of Alone Together (Knopf 1987), and Mothers and
Daughters (Knopf 1992), and writes frequently on Russia and human
She is a recipient of many international human rights awards,
including the Rafto Prize, the European Parliament’s Robert Schumann
medal, the awards of International Humanist and Ethical Union, the World
Women’s Alliance, the Adelaida Ristori Foundation, the US National
Endowment for Democracy, the Lithuanian Commemorative Medal of 13
January, the Czech Republic Order of Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, and others.
In 2005 Bonner participated in "They Chose Freedom", a four-part
television documentary on the history of the Soviet dissident movement.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Iosif Aleksandrovich Brodsky (Russian: Èî́ñèô Àëåêñà́íäðîâè÷ Áðî́äñêèé)
(24 May 1940 – 28 January 1996) was a Soviet-Russian-American poet,
essayist, and Nobel Laureate in Literature. He was appointed Poet
Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1991.
Brodsky was born into a Jewish family in Leningrad, the son of a
professional photographer in the Soviet Navy. In early childhood he
survived the Siege of Leningrad. When he was fifteen, Brodsky left
school and tried to enter the School of Submariners without success. He
went on to work as a milling machine operator. Later, having decided to
become a physician, he worked at a morgue at the Kresty prison. He
subsequently held a variety of jobs at a hospital, in a ship's boiler
room, and on geological expeditions.
At the same time, Brodsky engaged in a program of self-education. He
learned English and Polish (mainly to translate poems by Czesław Miłosz,
who was Brodsky's favorite poet and a friend), and acquired a deep
interest in classical philosophy, religion, mythology, and English and
American poetry. Later in life, he admitted that he picked up books from
anywhere he could find them, including garbage dumps.
Brodsky began writing his own poetry and producing literary
translations around 1957. His writings were apolitical. The young
Brodsky was encouraged and influenced by the poet Anna Akhmatova who
called some of his verses "enchanting."
In 1963, he was arrested and in 1964 charged with parasitism by the
Soviet authorities. A famous excerpt from the transcript of his trial
made by journalist Frida Vigdorova was smuggled to the West:
Judge: And what is your profession, in
Brodsky: I am a poet and a literary translator.
Judge: Who recognizes you as a poet? Who enrolled you in the ranks of
Brodsky: No one. Who enrolled me in the ranks of humankind?
Judge: Did you study this?
Judge: How to become a poet. You did not even try to finish high school
where they prepare, where they teach?
Brodsky: I didn’t think you could get this from school.
Judge: How then?
Brodsky: I think that it ... comes from God.
For his "parasitism" Brodsky was sentenced to five years of internal
exile with obligatory engagement in physical work and served 18 months
in the Archangelsk region. His sentence was commuted in 1965 after
protests by prominent Soviet and foreign literary figures, including
Evgeny Evtushenko, Dmitri Shostakovich, and Jean-Paul Sartre.
In 1964, Leonid Brezhnev came to power. As the Khrushchev Thaw period
ended, only four of Brodsky's poems were published in the Soviet Union.
He refused to publish his writings under censorship and most of his work
has appeared only in the West or in samizdat form.
Brodsky was expelled from the USSR on 4 June 1972 and moved to the
United States where he was naturalized in 1977. His first teaching
position in the US was at the University of Michigan. He was
Poet-in-Residence and Visiting Professor at Queens College, Smith
College, Columbia University, and the Cambridge University in England.
He was a Five-College Professor of Literature at Mount Holyoke College,
brought there by poet and historian Peter Viereck.
In 1978, Brodsky was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters
at Yale University, and on 23 May 1979, he was inducted as a member of
the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. In 1981, Brodsky
received the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's "genius"
award. He is also a recipient of The International Center in New York's
Award of Excellence.
In 1986, his collection of essays Less Than One won the National Book
Critics Award for Criticism. In 1987, he won the Nobel Prize for
Literature, the fifth Russian-born writer to do so. At an interview in
Stockholm airport, to the question: "You are an American citizen who is
receiving the Prize for Russian-language poetry. Who are you, an
American or a Russian?", he responded: "I am Jewish - a Russian poet and
an English essayist".
Brodsky held an honorary degree from the University of Silesia and
was an honorary member of the International Academy of Science.
In 1991, Brodsky became Poet Laureate of the United States. His
inauguration address was printed in Poetry Review.
A recurring theme in Brodsky's writing is the relationship between
the poet and society. In particular, Brodsky emphasized the power of
literature to positively impact its audience and to develop the language
and culture in which it is situated. He suggested that the Western
literary tradition was in part responsible for the world having overcome
the catastrophes of the twentieth century, such as Nazism, Communism and
the World Wars. During his term as the Poet Laureate, Brodsky promoted
the idea of bringing the Anglo-American poetic heritage to a wider
American audience by distributing free poetry anthologies to the public
through a government-sponsored program. This proposal was met with
limited enthusiasm in Washington. Much of Brodsky's writing–particularly
his essays such as Less Than One–dabbled in existentialist philosophy.
Between 1962 and 1964 Brodsky had a relationship with the artist
Marina Basmanova which produced a son Andrey. Basmanova refused to marry
Brodsky and registered the child under her own surname. Brodsky married
Maria Sozzani in 1990. They had one daughter, Anna. Brodsky died of a
heart attack in his New York City apartment on January 28, 1996, and was
buried in the Episcopalian section at Isola di San Michele cemetery in
Venice, Italy (the setting of his book Watermark).
A close friend to fellow Nobel laureate Derek Walcott, Brodsky was
memorialized in Walcott's poetry collection The Prodigal
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Vladimir Konstantinovich Bukovsky (Russian: Âëàäè́ìèð
Êîíñòàíòè́íîâè÷ Áóêî́âñêèé; born December 30, 1942) is a notable former
Soviet political dissident, author and political activist.
Bukovsky was one of the first to expose the use of psychiatric
imprisonment against political prisoners in the Soviet Union. He spent a
total of twelve years in Soviet prisons, labor camps and in psikhushkas,
forced-treatment psychiatric hospitals used by the government as special
Vladimir Bukovsky was born in the town of Belebey, Bashkirian ASSR,
Russian SFSR (now Bashkortostan), USSR, where his family was evacuated
from Moscow during World War II. In 1959 he was expelled from his Moscow
school for creating and editing an unauthorized magazine.
Activism and arrests
From June 1963 to February 1965, Bukovsky was convicted (Article 70-1 of
the Penal Code of the RSFSR) and sent to a psikhushka for organizing
poetry meetings in the center of Moscow (next to the Mayakovsky
monument). The official charge was an attempt to copy anti-Soviet
literature, namely The New Class by Milovan Djilas.
In December 1965 he organised a demonstration at Pushkin Square in
Moscow in defence of the writers Andrei Sinyavsky and Yuli Daniel (see
Sinyavsky-Daniel trial). Three days before the planned demonstration,
Bukovsky was arrested. He was kept in various psykhushkas without any
charges till July 1966.
In January 1967 he was arrested for organizing a demonstration in
defence of Alexander Ginzburg, Yuri Galanskov and other dissidents
(Article 190-1, 3 years of imprisonment); released in January 1970.
In 1971, Bukovsky managed to smuggle to the West over 150 pages
documenting abuse of psychiatric institutions for political reasons in
the Soviet Union. The information galvanized human rights activists
worldwide (including inside the country) and was a pretext for his
subsequent arrest in the same year. At the trial in January 1972
Bukovsky was accused of slandering the Soviet psychiatry, contacts with
foreign journalists and possession and distribution of samizdat (Article
70-1, 7 years of imprisonment plus 5 years in exile).
Together with a fellow inmate in the prison camp No 35 near Perm,
psychiatrist Semyon Gluzman, he coauthored A Manual on Psychiatry for
Dissidents in order to help other dissidents to fight abuses of the
The fate of Bukovsky and other political prisoners in the Soviet Union,
repeatedly brought to attention by Western human rights groups and
diplomats, was a cause of embarrassment and irritation for the Soviet
December 18, 1976, while imprisoned, Bukovsky was exchanged for
former Chilean Communist leader Luis Corvalán. In his autobiographical
book To Build a Castle, Bukovsky describes how he was brought to
Switzerland handcuffed. This biography is available online at several
In the United Kingdom
Since 1976 Bukovsky has lived in Cambridge, England, focusing on
neurophysiology and writing. He received a Masters Degree in Biology and
has written several books and political essays. In addition to
criticizing the Soviet government, he also picked apart what he calls
"Western gullibility", a lack of a tough stand of Western liberalism
against Communist abuses.
In 1983, together with Vladimir Maximov and Eduard Kuznetsov he
cofounded and was elected president of international anti-Communist
organization Resistance International (Èíòåðíàöèîíàë ñîïðîòèâëåíèÿ). In
1985, together with Albert Jolis, Armondo Valladares, Jeane Kirkpatrick,
Midge Decter and Yuri Yarim-Agaev founded the American Foundation for
Resistance International, later joined by Richard Perle and Martin
Colman became the coordinating center for the dissidents and democracy
movements seeking to overturn communism, it organized protests in the
communist countries and opposed western financial assistance for the
communist governments. It had a primary role in the coordination of the
opposition which was instrumental in the demise of communism. It also
created of the National Council To Support The Democracy Movements
(National Council For Democracy) which, helped establish democratic Rule
of Law Governments and assisted with the writing of their constitutions
and civil structures.
Judgment in Moscow
In April 1991 Vladimir Bukovsky visited Moscow for the first time since
his forced deportation. In the run-up to the 1991 presidential election
Boris Yeltsin's campaign considered Bukovsky as a potential
vice-presidential running-mate (other contenders included Galina
Starovoitova and Gennady Burbulis). In the end, the vice-presidency was
offered to Alexander Rutskoi.
In 1992, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, President Yeltsin's
government invited Bukovsky to serve as an expert to testify at the CPSU
trial by Constitutional Court of Russia, where the communists were suing
Yeltsin for banning their party. The respondent's case was that the CPSU
itself had been an unconstitutional organization. To prepare for his
testimony, Bukovsky requested and was granted access to a large number
of documents from Soviet archives (then reorganized into TsKhSD). Using
a small handheld scanner and a laptop computer, he managed to secretly
scan many documents (some with high security clearance), including KGB
reports to the Central Committee, and smuggle the files to the West. The
event that many expected would be another Nuremberg Trial and the
beginnings of reconciliation with the Communist past, ended up in
half-measures: while the CPSU was found unconstitutional, the communists
were allowed to form new parties in the future. Bukovsky expressed his
deep disappointment with this in his writings and interviews:
“ Having failed to finish off conclusively the communist system, we
are now in danger of integrating the resulting monster into our world.
It may not be called communism anymore, but it retained many of its
dangerous characteristics... Until the Nuremberg-style tribunal passes
its judgment on all the crimes committed by communism, it is not dead
and the war is not over.”
It took several years and a team of assistants to compose the scanned
pieces together and publish it (see Soviet Archives, collected by
Vladimir Bukovsky, prepared for electronic publishing by Julia Zaks and
Leonid Chernikhov). The same collection of documents is also massively
quoted in Bukovsky's Judgement in Moscow, which was published in 1994,
translated to many languages and attracted international attention.
In 1992 a group of liberal deputies of the Moscow City Council proposed
Bukovsky's candidacy for elections of the new Mayor of Moscow, following
the resignation of the previous Mayor, Gavriil Popov. Bukovsky refused
the offer. In early 1996 a group of Moscow academics, journalists and
intellectuals suggested that Vladimir Bukovsky should run for President
of Russia as an alternative candidate to both incumbent President Boris
Yeltsin and his Communist challenger Gennady Zyuganov. No formal
nomination was initiated. In any case, Bukovsky would not have been
allowed to run, as the Russian Constitution stipulates that any
presidential candidate must have lived in the country continuously for
ten years prior to the election.
In 1997, during the General Meeting in Florence, Bukovsky has been
elected General President of the Comitatus pro Libertatibus- Comitati
per le Libertà- Freedom Committees, the international movement aimed to
defend and empower everywhere the culture of liberties. Re-elected since
then, Bukovsky promoted together with Dario Fertilio and Stéphane
Courtois, a writer and an historian, the Memento Gulag, or Memorial Day
devoted to the victims of communism, to be held each year, on 7 November
(anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution). Since then, the Memento Gulag
has been celebrated in Rome, Bucharest, Berlin, La Roche sur Yon and
In 2002 Boris Nemtsov, a member of the Russian Duma (parliament) and
leader of the Union of Right Forces, and former Deputy Prime Minister of
Russia, visited Vladimir Bukovsky in Cambridge to discuss the strategy
of the Russian opposition. Bukovsky told Nemtsov that, in his view, it
is imperative that Russian liberals adopt an uncompromising stand toward
what he sees as the authoritarian government of President Vladimir Putin.
In January 2004, together with Garry Kasparov, Boris Nemtsov, Vladimir
V. Kara-Murza and others, Vladimir Bukovsky co-founded the Committee
2008, an umbrella organization of the Russian democratic opposition,
whose purpose is to ensure free and fair presidential elections in 2008.
In 2005 Bukovsky participated in They Chose Freedom, a four-part
documentary on the Soviet dissident movement. In 2005, with the
revelations about captives in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and the CIA secret
prisons, Bukovsky criticized the rationalization of torture. Bukovsky
warned about some parallels between the formations of Soviet Union and
Vladimir Bukovsky is a member of the Board of Directors of the
Gratitude Fund, and a member of the International Council of the New
York-based Human Rights Foundation. In the United Kingdom, he is
Vice-President of The Freedom Association (TFA) and a patron of the
United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP).
Candidate for Russian Presidential Election, 2008
On the 28th May 2007, Bukovsky agreed to become a candidate in the
Russian presidential election.
The group that nominated Bukovsky as a candidate included Yuri Ryzhov,
Vladimir V. Kara-Murza, Alexander Podrabinek, Andrei Piontkovsky,
Vladimir Pribylovsky and others. Activists and writers Valeria
Novodvorskaya, Victor Shenderovich, Vladimir Sorokin favored Bukovsky.
In their answer to pro-Kremlin politicians and publicists who
expressed doubt in Bukovksy's electoral prospects, his nominators
refuted a number of frequently repeated statements.
More than 800 participants nominated Bukovsky for president on
December 16, 2007 in Moscow. Bukovsky secured the required turnout and
submitted his registration to the Central Election Commission on
December 18, 2007.
The Initiative Group refuted pro-government media's early claims of
Bukovsky's failure in the presidential race and Constitution court
The Election Commission turned down Bukovsky's application on
December 22, 2007, claiming that he failed to give information on his
activity as a writer when submitting documents to the Election
Commission, that he was holding a British residence permit, and that he
has not been living on Russian territory over the past ten years.
Bukovsky appealed the decision in Supreme Court on December 28, 2007,
then in its cassation board on January 15, 2008.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Since the 1930s in the Soviet Union, the only state-supported style
of visual art had been Socialist realism. All other forms of art were
forced underground and sometimes prosecuted. One of the attempts to
break out of the underground to more public view was the Belyayevo
It was organised by two underground artists, Evgeny Rukhin and Oscar
Rabine. Among the artists taking part in the exhibition were Oleg
Tselkov, Eduard Shteinberg, Vladimir Nemukhin, Lidiya Masterkova, Igor
Holin, Borukh (Boris Shteinberg), Koryun Nahapetyan, Alexandr Zhdanov,
Vladimir Bougrine, Eduard Drobitsky (currently, vice-president of
Russian Academy of Arts), Edouard Zelenine, and sots art creators Vitaly
Komar and Alexander Melamid. It was held on a vacant lot, officially
part of an urban forest (ëåñîïàðê) in Belyayevo. Attendance consisted of
approximately twenty artists and a group of spectators that included
relatives, friends of the artists, friends of the friends and some
Western journalists. The paintings were installed on makeshift stands
made out of dump wood.
Despite the minor size of the event it was considered by the
authorities as very serious. They marshalled a large group of attackers
that included three bulldozers, water cannons, dump trucks and hundreds
of off-duty policemen. Officially, the group was supposed to be
"gardeners" expanding the urban forest, who reacted in spontaneous
outrage to the offense against their proletarian sensibilities. It was
never denied, though, that they actually got their orders from the KGB.
The attackers actually destroyed the paintings, beat and arrested the
artists, spectators and journalists. One of the most dramatic scenes was
Oscar Rabine who actually went through the exhibition hanging to the
blade of the bulldozer. One of the attackers, militsia lieutenant
Avdeenko, memorably shouted at the artists: "You should be shot! Only
you are not worth the ammunition ..." ("Ñòðåëÿòü âàñ íàäî! Òîëüêî
After the event was widely publicized in the Western media,
embarrassed authorities were forced to allow a similar open air
exhibition in the Izmailovo urban forest two weeks later on 29 September
1974. The new exhibition of works of 40 artists was held for four hours
and was visited by thousands of people (the numbers cited differ from
one and a half thousand to twenty-five thousand). A participant in the
exhibitions, Boris Zhutkov, has said that the quality of the Izmaylovo
paintings was much lower than the paintings in Belyayevo, since in the
original exhibition the artists showed the best paintings they had only
to have most of them destroyed. The four hours in the forest of the
Izmailovo exhibition has often been remembered as "The Half-day of
Freedom." The Izmailovo exhibition in turn gave its way to other
exhibitions of the nonconformist art which were very important in the
history of modern Russian art.
Chronicle of Current Events (samizdat)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The information bulletin Chronicle of Current Events (Russian: Õðîíèêà
òåêóùèõ ñîáûòèé) was one of the longest-running and best-known samizdat
periodicals in the USSR dedicated to the defense of human rights. For
fifteen years from 1968 to 1983, a total of 63 issues of the Chronicle
The anonymous authors encouraged readers to utilize the same
distribution channels in order to send feedback and local information to
be published in subsequent issues. The Chronicle was known for its dry,
concise style, its regular rubrics were titled "Arrests, Searches,
Interrogations", "Out of Court Repressions", "In Prisons and Camps",
"News of Samizdat", "Persecution of Religion", "Persecution of Crimean
Tatars", "Repressions in Ukraine", "Lithuanian Events", etc. The authors
maintained that according to the Soviet Constitution, the Chronicle was
not an illegal publication, but the long list of people arrested in
relation to it included Natalya Gorbanevskaya, Yuri Shikhanovich, Pyotr
Yakir, Victor Krasin, Sergei Kovalev, Alexander Lavut, Tatyana
Velikanova, among others.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tea party in the Sakharov kitchen:
Andrei Sakharov, Ruth Bonner,
and Lydia Chukovskaya, 1976.
Lydia Korneievna Chukovskaya (Russian: Ëèäèÿ Êîðíååâíà ×óêîâñêàÿ) (24
March [O.S. 11 March] 1907 – February 8, 1996) was a Soviet writer and
poet. Her deeply personal writings reflect the human cost of Soviet
totalitarianism, and she devoted much of her career to defending
dissidents such as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Andrei Sakharov. She was
herself the daughter of the celebrated children's writer Korney
Chukovsky, wife of the scientist Matvei Bronstein, and close associate
and chronicler of the poet Anna Akhmatova.
Lydia Chukovskaya was born in 1907 in Helsingfors (present-day Helsinki)
in the Grand Duchy of Finland, then a part of the Russian Empire. Her
father was Korney Chukovsky, a poet who is regarded today as perhaps the
best-loved children's writer in Russian literature.
She grew up in St Petersburg, the former capital of the empire torn
by war and revolution. Chukovsky recorded that his daughter would muse
on the problem of social justice while she was still a little girl. But
Lydia's greatest passion was literature, especially poetry. It could
hardly have been otherwise, given her pedigree and circumstances — their
house was frequently visited by leading members of the Russian literati,
such as Blok, Gumilyov and Akhmatova. The city was also home to the
country's finest artists — Lydia saw Chaliapin perform at the opera, for
instance, and also met the painter Ilya Repin.
Lydia got into trouble with the Bolshevik authorities at an early
age, when one of her friends used her father's typewriter to print an
anti-Bolshevik leaflet. Lydia was exiled to the city of Saratov for a
short period, but the experience did not make her particularly
political. Indeed, upon her return from exile, she returned to
Leningrad's literary world, joining the state publishing house in 1927
as an editor of children's books. Her mentor there was Samuil Marshak,
perhaps her father's biggest rival in Russian children's literature. Her
first literary work, a short story entitled Leningrad-Odessa, was
published around this time, under the pseudonym "A. Uglov".
Soon, Chukovskaya fell in love with a brilliant young physicist of
Jewish origin, by the name of Matvei Bronstein. The two got married. In
the late 1930s, Stalin's Great Terror enveloped the land. Chukovskaya's
employer came under attack for being too "bourgeois", and a number of
its authors were arrested and executed. Matvei Bronstein also became one
of Stalin's many victims. He was arrested in 1937 on a false charge and,
unknown to his wife, was tried and executed in February 1938.
Chukovskaya too would have been arrested, had she not been away from
Leningrad at the time.
Later life and career
For several years, her life was to remain nomadic and precarious. She
was separated from her daughter Yelena, and kept in the dark about her
husband's fate. In 1939-40, while she waited in vain for news,
Chukovskaya wrote Sofia Petrovna, a harrowing story about life during
the Great Purges. But it was a while before this story would achieve
widespread recognition. Out of favour with the authorities, yet
principled and uncompromising, Chukovskaya was unable to hold down any
kind of steady employment. But gradually, she started to get published
again: an introduction to the works of Taras Shevchenko, another one for
the diaries of Miklouho-Maclay.
By the time of Stalin's death in 1953, Chukovskaya had become a
respected figure within the literary establishment, as one of the
editors of the cultural monthly Literaturnaya Moskva. During the late
1950s, Sofia Petrovna finally made its way through Russia's literary
circles, in manuscript form through samizdat. Khrushchev's Thaw set in,
and the book was about to be published in 1963, but was stopped at the
last moment for containing "ideological distortions". Indomitable as
ever, Chukovskaya sued the publisher for full royalties and won. The
book was eventually published in Paris in 1965, but without the author's
permission and under the somewhat inaccurate title The Deserted House.
There were also some unauthorized alterations to the text. The following
year, a New York publisher published it again, this time with the
original title and text restored.
Chukovskaya was a lifelong friend of Anna Akhmatova, and her next
major work Spusk pod Vodu (Descent Into Water) described, in diary form,
the precarious experiences of Akhmatova and Mikhail Zoshchenko. This
book too was banned from publication in her native land. In 1964,
Chukovskaya spoke out against the persecution of the young Joseph
Brodsky; she would do so again for Solzhenitsyn and Andrei Sakharov. She
wrote a series of letters in support of Solzhenitsyn; these were
published in Munich in 1970.
In supporting Soviet dissidents, Chukovskaya lost her own right to
publish inside Russia. Although the KGB monitored her closely, it is
thought that the Soviet state refrained from meting out harsher
punishment, because of her reputation in the West but also because of
her father’s indisputable stature in Russian culture.
Her relationship with Akhmatova was the subject of two more books.
Throughout her life, Chukovskaya also wrote poems of an intensely
personal nature, touching upon her life, her lost husband, and the
tragedy of her people.
In her old age, she shared her time between Moscow and her father’s
dacha in Peredelkino, a village that was the home to many writers
including Boris Pasternak. She died in Peredelkino in February 1996.
Sofia Petrovna became legally available for the Soviet readers only
in February 1988 after it was published in the magazine Neva. This
publication made possible publications of the other Lydia Chukovskaya’s
works as Chukovskaya explicitly forbade any publications of her fiction
in the Soviet Union before an official publication of Sofia Petrovna
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Yuli Markovich Daniel (Russian: Þëèé Ìàðêîâè÷ Äàíèýëü; November 15,
1925 — December 30, 1988) was a Soviet dissident writer, poet,
translator, political prisoner and gulag survivor. He frequently wrote
under the pseudonyms Nikolay Arzhak (Íèêîëàé Àðæàê) and Yu. Petrov (Þ.Ïåòðîâ).
Early life and World War II
Yuli Daniel was born in Moscow into the family of Yiddish playwright M.
Daniel (Mark Meyerovich, Russian: Ìàðê Íàóìîâè÷ Ìååðîâè÷), who took the
pseudonym Daniel. The famous march song of the Soviet young pioneers, "Îðëåíîê"
(Young Eagle), was originally written for one of his plays. Daniel's
uncle, an ardent revolutionary (alias Liberten), was a member of
Comintern who perished in the Great Purge.
In 1942, during Great Patriotic War, Daniel lied about his age and
volunteered to serve at the front. He fought in the 2nd Ukrainian and
the 3rd Belorussian fronts, in 1944 was critically wounded in his legs
and demobilized due to his pursuant disability.
Writing and arrest
In 1950, he graduated from Moscow Pedagogical Institute and worked as a
school teacher in Kaluga and Moscow regions. He published his poetry
translations from a variety of languages. Daniel and his friend Andrei
Sinyavsky also wrote satirical novels and smuggled them to France to be
published under pseudonyms. (See samizdat)
He married Larisa Bogoraz who later also became a famous dissident.
In 1965, Daniel and Sinyavsky were arrested and tried in the infamous
Sinyavsky-Daniel trial. On February 14, 1966, Daniel was sentenced to
five years of hard labor for "anti-Soviet activity". Both writers
entered a plea of not guilty, unprecedented in the USSR.
Late years and influence
According to Fred Coleman, "Historians now have no difficulty
pinpointing the birth of the modern Soviet dissident movement. It began
in February 1966 with the trial of Andrei Sinyavsky and Yuli Daniel, two
Russian writers who ridiculed the Communist regime in satires smuggled
abroad and published under pen names. They didn't realize at the time
that they were starting a movement that would help end Communist
After four years of captivity in Mordovia labor camps and one year in
Vladimir prison, Daniel refused to emigrate (as was customary among
Soviet dissidents) and lived in Kaluga.
Before his death, Bulat Okudzhava acknowledged that some translations
published under Okudzhava's name were ghostwritten by Daniel who was on
the list of authors banned to be published in the USSR.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Vadim Nikolaevich Delaunay (or Delone, Russian: Âàäèì Íèêîëàåâè÷ Äåëîíå;
1947 – 1983) was a Russian poet and dissident, who participated in the
1968 Red Square demonstration of protest against military suppression of
the Prague Spring.
Delaunay was born to a Russian-French family of Soviet Intelligentsia.
His grandfather, Boris Delaunay, was a prominent Soviet mathematician
and creator of the Delaunay triangulation. Among his ancestors was
marquis Bernard-René de Launay, the last governor of the Bastille,
murdered by the attackers on that castle. Delaunay often predicted that
he would repeat the fate of his ancestor.
Delaunay studied at Moscow matshkola ("Mathematical School") No. 2,
one of the best in the country at that time, then at the Department of
Philology at the Moscow Pedagogical Institute. As a student, he also
worked as a freelance author for the Literaturnaya Gazeta. Delaunay
started to write poetry at the age of 13. His poetry was distributed by
samizdat and some of it was published abroad.
On January 22, 1967, Delaunay took part in a demonstration on Pushkin
Square protesting the arrest of Alexander Ginzburg and Yuri Galanskov as
well as articles 70 and 190 of the Soviet Penal Code—"Anti-Soviet
agitation" and "Libel against the Soviet Government". He was arrested
and given a one-year suspended sentence (incidentally in accordance with
article 190 of the Penal Code). His sentence was much lighter than that
of another organizer of the same meeting, Vladimir Bukovsky, who got
three years in a labor camp. Delaunay was distressed by the difference
in the sentence, explaining the relative softness of it by the influence
of his relatives.
Delaunay's sentence required him to move away from Moscow, so he went to
Novosibirsk State University to a friend and pupil of his grandfather,
Aleksandr Aleksandrov. In Novosibirsk, he continued his philology
studies and wrote poetry. At that time, his first official foreign
publications appeared in the Paris magazine Grani N66. Delaunay was an
organizer of a concert by the Bard Alexander Galich, who was semi-legal
at that time.
In the beginning of 1968, after the court hearing for Galanskov and
Ginzburg, Delaunay wrote an open letter to Literaturnaya Gazeta in which
he praised their bravery. The letter was published in the New York
newspaper Novoe Russkoe Slovo (The New Russian Word).
1968 Red Square demonstration
In June 1968, Delaunay returned to Moscow. On August 25, 1968, he and
seven other dissidents organized the now-famous demonstration in support
of the Prague Spring in Red Square near the Moscow Kremlin. Delaunay and
Pavel Litvinov held the famous banner with the words "ÇÀ ÂÀØÓ È ÍÀØÓ
ÑÂÎÁÎÄÓ" ("For your freedom and ours").
Seven people were arrested, and in court, Delaunay stated that the
five minutes of freedom on the square were worth the years in prison
that were probably awaiting him. Efforts of the defense to convince the
court in the absence of any criminal element in actions of the
demonstrators were vain. There is opinion that the sentence was ready
before the court session. Delaunay was sentenced to two years and 10
months in a labor camp that he served in Tyumen Oblast in northwestern
In June 1971, Delaunay finished serving his sentence and returned to
Moscow. In 1973, his wife I. Belgorodkaya was arrested for her
involvement with an underground journal, Õðîíèêà Òåêóùèõ Ñîáûòèé
(Chronicle of Current Events). In 1975, she was freed, and they both
emigrated to France. In 1979, Delaunay published his story Portraits in
a Barbed Frame in the magazine Echo.
On 13 June 1983, Delaunay died of a heart attack in Paris at the age of
35. In 1984, his book of poetry Verses: 1963-1983 was published. In that
same year, he was posthumously awarded the Vladimir Dal prize. His
poetry has been published in Russia since 1989.
Dymshits-Kuznetsov hijacking affair
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Campaign in support of Eduard Kuznetsov
and other political prisoners
The Dymshits-Kuznetsov aircraft hijacking affair (Russian:
Ëåíèíãðàäñêîå ñàìîë¸òíîå äåëî, or Äåëî ãðóïïû Äûìøèöà-Êóçíåöîâà)
(Leningrad Process) was an attempt to hijack a civilian aircraft on 15
May 1970 by a group of Soviet refuseniks in order to escape to the West.
Even though the attempt was unsuccessful, this was a notable event in
the course of the Cold War because it drew international attention to
human rights violations in the USSR and resulted in temporary loosening
of emigration restrictions.
In the wake of the Six-Day War in 1967, the USSR broke off diplomatic
relations with Israel. This stirred up Zionist feelings among some
Soviet Jews, the majority of whom were assimilated and non-religious.
In 1970, a group of sixteen refuseniks (two of whom were non-Jewish),
organized by dissident Eduard Kuznetsov (who already served a seven-year
term in Soviet prisons), prepared to hijack an aircraft and fly it to
Sweden. One of the participants, Mark Dymshits, was a former military
pilot. Under the guise of a trip to a wedding, they bought up all the
tickets for the local flight Leningrad-Priozyorsk on a small 12-seater
aircraft Antonov An-2 (colloquially known as "êóêóðóçíèê", kukuruznik).
On 15 June 1970, after arriving at Smolny Airport near Leningrad, the
entire group of the "wedding guests" was arrested by the MVD.
The accused were charged for high treason, punishable by the death
sentence under Article 64 of the Penal code of the RSFSR. Mark Dymshits
and Eduard Kuznetsov were sentenced to capital punishment but after
international protests it was appealed and replaced with 15 years of
incarceration, Yosef Mendelevitch and Yuri Fedorov - 15 years, Aleksey
Murzhenko - 14, Silva Zalmanson (Kuznetsov's wife) - 10, Arieh-Leib
Khanokh - 13, Anatoli Altmann - 12, Boris Penson - 10, Israel Zalmanson
- 8 years, Wolf Zalmanson (brother of Sylva and Israel) - 10, Mendel
Bodnya - 4 years.
The affair was followed by a crackdown on the Jewish and dissident
movement throughout the USSR. Activists were arrested, makeshift centers
for studying the Hebrew language and Torah were closed, and more trials
At the same time, strong international condemnations caused the
Soviet authorities to significantly increase the emigration quota. In
the years 1960 through 1970, only 4,000 people (legally) emigrated from
the USSR. In the following decade, the number rose to 250,000, to fall
again by 1980 .
On 20 May 1978, three Soviet foreign intelligence officers were
arrested in New Jersey while collecting an agent's report from a secret
cache. One of them, the attaché of the Soviet mission to the United
Nations Vladimir Zinyakin, had diplomatic immunity and was released. Two
others, Rudolf Chernyaev and Valdik Enger, were employees of the UN
secretariat who did not have such status and in October were sentenced
to 50 years in prison each. After long negotiations, on 27 April 1979,
they were exchanged for five Soviet political prisoners: Aleksandr
Ginzburg, Eduard Kuznetsov, Mark Dymshits, Valentin Moroz, and Georgy
After immigrating to Israel, Kuznetsov headed the news department of
the "Radio Liberty" (1983-1990), and was the chief editor of the largest
Israeli Russan-language newspaper "Âåñòè" (1990-1999), the most popular
Russian language newspaper outside of Russia.
"The Committee to Free the Leningrad Three" headed by the US Senator
Tilman Bishop was instrumental in organizing grassroots and diplomatic
campaigns to release the remaining prisoners.
In February 1981, Mendelevitch was released and joined his family in
Israel. He urged continuance of the campaign to free two Russian members
of the group, Fedorov and Murzhenko: "The fact that both are non-Jewish
is the worst example of Soviet discrimination and must not pass without
On 15 June 1984, Aleksei Murzhenko was released, only to be
rearrested for "parole violation". In June 1985, after serving 15 years,
Yuri Fedorov was released under the 101st kilometre settlement
restriction. He was denied an exit visa until 1988 when he left for the
USA. In 1998, he founded The Gratitude Fund in order to commemorate the
Soviet dissidents "who waged a war against Soviet power and sacrificed
their personal freedom and their lives for democracy".
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Alexander Sergeyevich Esenin-Volpin
Alexander Sergeyevich Esenin-Volpin (Russian: Àëåêñàíäð Ñåðãååâè÷
Åñåíèí-Âîëüïèí) is a prominent Russian-American poet and mathematician.
Born on May 12, 1924 in the former Soviet Union, he was a notable
dissident, political prisoner, poet, and mathematician. Volpin was a
leader of the human rights movement and he spent total of fourteen years
incarcerated and repressed by the Soviet authorities in prisons,
psikhushkas and exile.
His mother, Nadezhda Volpin, was a poet and translator from French
and English. His father was Sergei Esenin, a Russian poet, who never
knew his son. He and his mother moved from Leningrad to Moscow in 1933.
In 1946 Esenin-Volpin graduated from Moscow State University. He wrote
and often publicly read his poetry.
Volpin-Esenin was free from conscription due to "psychiatric"
reasons. His psychiatric imprisonments took place in 1949 for
"anti-Soviet poetry", in 1959 for smuggling abroad samizdat, including
his Ñâîáîäíûé ôèëîñîôñêèé òðàêòàò (Free Philosophical Tractate), and
again in 1968. Vladimir Bukovsky was quoted as saying that Volpin's
diagnosis was "pathological honesty".
In September 1950, Volpin was exiled for five years to Karaganda as a
"socially dangerous element". In 1953, after the death of Joseph Stalin,
he was amnestied. Soon he became a known mathematician specializing in
the fields of ultrafinitism and intuitionism.
Volpin was the first dissident in the history of the Soviet Union who
proclaimed that it is possible and necessary to defend human rights by
strictly observing the law.
On December 5, 1965, the Soviet Constitution Day, he organized a
legendary "ìèòèíã ãëàñíîñòè" (the glasnost meeting), a demonstration at
the Pushkin Square in the center of Moscow. Western journalists were
invited to provide press coverage. The leaflets written by Volpin and
distributed by samizdat method, asserted that recent arrest of writers
Andrei Sinyavsky and Yuli Daniel violates Article 3 of the Soviet
constitution and Article 18 of RSFSR Criminal Code. The meeting was
attended by about 200 people, many of whom turned out to be KGB
operatives. The slogans read: "Òðåáóåì ãëàñíîñòè ñóäà íàä Ñèíÿâñêèì è
Äàíèýëåì" (We demand an open trial for Sinyavski and Daniel) and "Óâàæàéòå
ñîâåòñêóþ êîíñòèòóöèþ" (Respect the Soviet constitution). The
demonstrators were promptly arrested.
In 1968 he circulated his famous "Ïàìÿòêà äëÿ òåõ, êîìó ïðåäñòîÿò
äîïðîñû" (Memo for those who expect to be interrogated) Text (in
Russian) widely used by fellow dissidents. In 1970, Volpin joined the
Human Rights Committee of the USSR and worked with Yuri Orlov, Andrei
Sakharov and other activists.
In May 1972, he emigrated to the United States, but his citizenship
was not revoked as was customary at the time. He worked at Boston
University. In 2005, Esenin-Volpin participated in "They Chose Freedom",
a four-part television documentary on the history of the Soviet
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Rabbi Eliyahu Essas
Rabbi Eliyahu Essas (Russian: Èëüÿ Ýññàñ; born 1946) is a notable former
leader of Soviet Jewry and one of the founders of Baal Teshuva movement
in former Soviet Union. Currently he lives in Jerusalem, Israel.
In 1973 he applied to the Soviet Authorities to make Aliyah to Israel.
He was refused on the grounds of his wife's having a sensitive job.
While living in Moscow, Essas spent his time building an Orthodox
Jewish Community. He created a network of Torah studies, children
underground education, and summer camps.
In January 1986, after political deals between Edgar Bronfman, Sr.,
Chairman of the World Jewish Congress, and Soviet Authorities, Essas'
family moved to Israel.
In 1988 Rabbi Essas was running to Knesset with Degel HaTorah party.
Rabbi Essas currently works for Aish Hatorah in Jerusalem, Israel and
is a founder of Jewish Russian website http://www.evrey.com
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Yuri Timofeyevich Galanskov Russian: Þðèé Òèìîôååâè÷ Ãàëàíñêîâ (June 19,
1939 - November 4, 1972, Mordovia) was a Russian poet, historian, human
rights activist and dissident. For his political activities, such as
founding and editing samizdat almanac Phoenix, he was incarcerated in
prisons, camps and forced treatment psychiatric hospitals (Psikhushkas).
He died in a labor camp.
Yuri Galanskov began his dissident activities in 1959, as a participant
in the poetry readings in Mayakovsky Square. Several of his works were
pusblished in the samizdat anthology Sintaksis. After Alexander Ginzburg
was arrested in 1960 for publishing Sintaksis, Yuri Galanskov became the
leader of dissident publishing in the Soviet Union. Galanskov’s first
publication, Phoenix came in 1961, and contained direct criticism of the
Soviet government, partly in the form of poetry. Phoenix published works
by Boris Pasternak, Natalya Gorbanevskaya, Ivan Kharabarov, and Yuri
As a punishment for publishing Phoenix, the Soviet authorities
convicted Galanskov and sentenced him to several months in a psychiatric
hospital. Following his release Galanskov formed a friendship with
Alexander Ginzburg, and together the two publishers made arrangements to
have their work published in the West.
The Daniel-Sinyavsky Trial
During the years of Khrushchev’s leadership, frustrations had been
mounting in the Kremlin over the difficulty of suppressing the Samizdat
literary movement. In an attempt to finally destroy dissident
literature, the Soviets arrested Yuri Daniel and Andrei Sinyavsky, two
prominent samizdat writers. The show trial was made a media spectacle,
with Pravda issuing passionate condemnations of the defendants. The
trial did not, however, discourage the underground literary movement.
Instead, it provoked the first intellectual protest to occur in the
Soviet Union in 30 years. Moreover, the protest was held at the Red
Square itself. Galanskov and Ginzburg took detailed notes of the trial
and released their observations in four-hundred page report known as The
White Book. This work was widely circulated among the dissident writers
and was eventually smuggled out to the West.
Shortly after the release of The White Book, Galanskov released the
second edition of Phoenix, titled Phoenix '66. This issue featured works
by Gorbanyevskaya, Yuri Stefanov, and Vladimir Batshev. It was generally
regarded as being even more daring than the first issue. The KGB
arrested him and four others in January 1967.
The Trial of the Four
In what came to be known as The Trial of the Four, the Soviet Union
brought charges against Yuri Galanskov for publishing Phoenix. The
prosecutors also charged Alexander Dobrovolsky with contributing to the
magazine, Vera Lashkova with assisting the typing of the manuscript, and
Alexander Ginzburg with collaborating with Galanskov on The White Book.
Lashkova was sentenced to a year in prison. Dobrovolsky was sentenced to
two years at hard labour, while Ginzburg received five years at hard
labour. Galanskov was sentenced to seven years at a labor camp in
Imprisonment and death
In 1968 Galanskov was sentenced to 7 years in a labor camp. During his
years in prison, Galanskov advocated the rights of prisoners. In
collaboration with Ginzburg, he wrote a letter describing the poor
conditions and cruel guards of the gulag. The letter was smuggled out of
Russia and published in the West.
According to accounts that reached the West at that time, Galanskov
who suffered from bleeding ulcers, was not allowed to receive medical
care after his imprisonment, and was fed prison fare of salt fish and
black bread. He died after he being operated for a perforated ulcer. The
surgery was performed on by another inmate, a former army doctor who was
not a qualified surgeon. Prior to his death Galanskov managed to sneak a
letter home saying: "They are doing everything to hasten my death."[
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Alexander Galich (Russian: Àëåêñà́íäð Àðêà́äüåâè÷ Ãà́ëè÷, born Alexander
Aronovich Ginzburg, October 19, 1918 – December 15, 1977), was a Russian
poet, screenwriter, playwright, and singer-songwriter. Galich is a pen
name, a sort of acronym of his last name, first name, and patronymic:
Ginzburg Alexander Arkadievich. He adopted this name to conceal his
Jewish ancestry in the face of Soviet antisemitism. He also changed his
patronymic from Aronovich to Arkadievich for this reason.
Alexander Ginzburg was born on October 19, 1918 in Ekaterinoslav (now
Dnipropetrovsk) into a family of Jewish intellectuals. His father, Aron
Samoilovich Ginzburg, was an economist, and his mother, Fanni Borisovna
Eksler, worked in a music conservatory. For most of his childhood he
lived in Sevastopol. Before World War II, he entered the Gorky Literary
Institute, then moved to Stanislavsky's Operatic-Dramatic Studio, and
then to the Studio-Theatre of A. Arbuzov and V. Pluchek (in 1939).
He wrote plays and screenplays, and in the late 1950s, he started to
write songs and sing them accompanying himself on his guitar. Influenced
by the Russian city romance tradition and the art of Alexander Vertinsky,
Galich developed his own voice within the genre. He practically
single-handedly created the genre of "bard song". Many of his songs
spoke of the Second World War and the lives of concentration camp
inmates -- subjects which Vladimir Vysotsky also began tackling at
around the same time. They became popular with the public and were made
available via magnitizdat.
His first songs, though rather innocent politically, nevertheless
were distinctly out of tune with the official Soviet aesthetics. They
marked a turning point in Galich's creative life, since before this, he
was a quite successful Soviet man of letters. This turn was also brought
about by the aborted premiere of his play Matrosskaya Tishina written
for the newly opened Sovremennik Theatre. The play, already rehearsed,
was banned by censors, who claimed that the author had a distorted view
of the role of Jews in the Great Patriotic War. This incident was later
described by Galich in the story Generalnaya Repetitsiya (Dress
Galich's increasingly sharp criticism of the Soviet regime in his
music caused him many problems. In 1971, he was expelled from the Soviet
Writers' Union, which he had joined in 1955. In 1972, he was expelled
from the Union of Cinematographers. That year he became baptized in the
Galich was forced to emigrate from the Soviet Union in 1974. He
initially lived in Norway for one year, where he made his first
recordings outside of the USSR. These were broadcasted on Radio Liberty,
a congress-funded radio station outlawed in USSR. His songs became
immensely popular in the underground scene for being openly critical
towards the Soviet government. He later moved to Munich, where he joined
the Russian anti-communist organization NTS. He finally moved to Paris
where, on the evening of December 15, 1977, he was found dead by his
wife, clutching a Grundig stereo recording antenna plugged into a power
socket. While his death appears to have been an accident, the consensus
opinion was that it was either an assassination or a suicide. As his
wife was absent the whole day, no one witnessed the exact circumstances
of his death. In 1988, he was posthumously re-instated into the Writers'
and Cinematographers' Unions. In 2003, the first memorial plaque for
Galich was put up on a building in Akademgorodok (Novosibirsk) where he
performed in 1968. That same year, the Alexander Galich Memorial Society
Alexander Galich, like most bards, had a fairly minimal musical
background. He played his songs on a seven string Russian guitar, which
was fairly standard at the time. He often wrote in the key of D minor,
relying on very simple chord progressions and fingerpicking techniques.
He had basic piano playing skills as well.
Galich had a signature cadence that he would usually play at the
conclusion of a song (and sometimes at the beginning). He would play the
D minor chord toward the top of the fretboard (fret position 0XX0233,
thickest to thinnest string, open G tuning), then slide down the
fretboard to a higher voiced D minor (0 X X 0 10 10 12).
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
P. Grigorenko and Sofia Kalistratova, 1977
Petro Grigorenko or Petro Hryhorovych Hryhorenko or Pyotr
Grigoryevich Grigorenko (Ukrainian: Ïåòðî Ãðèãîðîâè÷ Ãðèãîðåíêî,
Russian: Ï¸òð Ãðèãîðüåâè÷ Ãðèãîðåíêî; 1907-1987) was a high-ranked
Soviet Army commander of Ukrainian descent, later a prominent Soviet
human rights activist, dissident and writer.
Petro Grigorenko was born in a village of rural Zaporizhzhia Oblast,
Ukraine. He went on a military career and reached high ranks during the
World War II. After the war, being a decorated veteran, he left active
career and taught at the Frunze Military Academy, reaching the rank of a
In 1961 Grigorenko criticized Nikita Khruschev's policies and was
transferred to Russian Far East as punishment. In 1963 he created the
Union of Struggle for the Restoration of Leninism. In the 1970s
Grigorenko became a member of the Moscow Helsinki Watch Group. The
authorities sent him to a psychiatric imprisonment psikhushka from
1964-1965, and he was stripped of his military rank, medals, and
After his release, Grigorenko actively participated in the struggle
for the Crimean Tatar autonomy, and demonstrated against the 1968 Soviet
invasion of Czechoslovakia and became a leading figure in Soviet human
rights movement along with his fellow celebrated dissidents Vladimir
Bukovsky, Andrei Sakharov, Alexander Yesenin-Volpin and others.
He was arrested on May 7, 1969 and incarcerated for five years.
Colonel-Doctor Lunts diagnosed his activities as evidence of paranoid
schizophrenia and arranged to have him sent to the Chernyakhovsk prison
hospital. On January 17, 1971 Grigorenko was asked whether he had
changed his convictions and replied that "Convictions are not like
gloves, one cannot easily change them".
Grigorenko was one of the first who questioned the official Soviet
version of World War II history. He pointed out that just prior to the
German attack on June 22, 1941, vast Soviet troops were concentrated in
the area west of Białystok, deep in occupied Poland, getting ready for a
surprise offensive, which made them vulnerable to be encircled in case
of surprise German attack. His ideas were later advanced by Viktor
In 1977, when Grigorenko left for medical treatment in the United
States, he was stripped of his Soviet citizenship.
Being in USA since 1977, Petro Hryhorenko took an active part in the
activities of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group foreign affiliate.
Name spelling versions
The different Latin spellings of Grigorenko's name exist due to the lack
of the uniform spelling rule for the Ukrainian names in the middle of XX
century, when he became internationally known. The correct modern
spelling would be Hryhorenko. However, according to the American
identification documents of the late general the official spelling of
his name was established as Petro Grigorenko. The same spelling is
engraved on his gravestone at the Ukrainian Orthodox Cemetery of St.
Andrew in New Jersey, USA. The same spelling also retained by his
surviving American descendants: son Andrew and granddaughters Tatiana
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Vasily Grossman with the Red Army in Schwerin, Germany (1945)
Vasily Semyonovich Grossman (first name alternatively spelled as Vassily
or Vasiliy, Russian: Âàñèëèé Ñåì¸íîâè÷ Ãðîññìàí, Ukrainian: Âàñèëü
Ñåìåíîâè÷ Ãðîññìàí), December 12, 1905 – September 14, 1964, was a
prominent Soviet-era writer and journalist.
Early life and career
Born Iosif Solomonovich Grossman in Berdychiv, Russian Empire (today in
Ukraine) into an emancipated Jewish family, he did not receive a
traditional Jewish education. A Russian nanny turned his name Yossya
into Russian Vasya (a diminutive of Vasily), which was accepted by the
whole family. His father had social-democratic convictions and joined
the Mensheviks. Young Vasily Grossman idealistically supported the
Russian Revolution of 1917.
Grossman began writing short stories while studying at Moscow State
University and later continued his literary activity working as an
engineer in the Donbass. One of his first short stories, In the town of
Berdichev (Â ãîðîäå Áåðäè÷åâå), drew favorable attention and
encouragement from Maxim Gorky and Mikhail Bulgakov. The movie Comissar
(director Aleksandr Askoldov), made in 1967, suppressed by the KGB and
released only in October 1990, is based on this four-page story.
In the mid-1930s Grossman left his job as an engineer and committed
himself fully to writing. By 1936 he had published two collections of
stories, and in 1937 was accepted into the privileged Union of Writers.
During the Great Purge some of his friends and close relatives were
arrested, including his common-law wife. For months he petitioned the
authorities to release her, which happened in 1938.
Vasily Grossman with the Red Army in Schwerin, Germany (1945)When
Nazi-Germany invaded the Soviet-Union in 1941 and the Great Patriotic
War broke out, Grossman's mother was trapped in Berdychiv by the
invading German army, and eventually murdered together with 20,000 to
30,000 other Jews who did not evacuate Berdychiv. Grossman was exempt
from military service, but volunteered for the front, where he spent
more than 1,000 days. He became a war reporter for the popular Red Army
newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star). As the war raged on, he covered
its major events, including the Battle of Moscow, the Battle of
Stalingrad, the Battle of Kursk, and the Battle of Berlin. In addition
to war journalism, his novels (such as The People are Immortal (Íàðîä
áåññìåðòåí)) were being published in newspapers and he came to be
regarded as a legendary war hero. The novel Stalingrad (1950), later
renamed For a Just Cause (Çà ïðàâîå äåëî), is based on his own
experiences during the siege.
Grossman's descriptions of Nazi ethnic cleansing in German occupied
Ukraine and Poland, and the liberation by the Red Army of the
Nazi-German Treblinka and Majdanek extermination camps, were some of the
first eyewitness accounts —as early as 1943—of what later became known
as the Holocaust. His article The Hell of Treblinka 1944) was
disseminated at the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal as evidence for the
Conflict with the Soviet regime
Grossman participated in the assembly of the Black Book, a project of
the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee to document the crimes of the
Holocaust. The post-war suppression of the Black Book by the Soviet
state shook him to the core, and he began to question his own loyal
support of the Soviet regime. First the censors ordered changes in the
text to conceal the specifically anti-Jewish character of the atrocities
and to downplay the role of Ukrainians who worked with the Nazis as
police. Then, in 1948, the Soviet edition of the book was scrapped
completely. The poet Semyon Lipkin, Grossman's friend, believed it was
Joseph Stalin's post-war antisemitic campaign that cracked Grossman's
belief in the Soviet system:
In 1946... I met some close friends, an Ingush and a Balkar, whose
families had been deported to Kazakhstan during the war. I told Grossman
and he said: "Maybe it was necessary for military reasons." I said:
"...Would you say that if they did it to the Jews?" He said that could
never happen. Some years later, a virulent article against
cosmopolitanism appeared in Pravda. Grossman sent me a note saying I had
been right after all. For years Grossman didn't feel very Jewish. The
campaign against cosmopolitanism reawoke his Jewishness.
Grossman also criticized collectivization and political repressions
of peasants that led to Holodomor tragedy. He wrote that "The decree
[about grain procurement] required that the peasants of the Ukraine, the
Don and the Kuban be put to death by starvation, put to death along with
their little children"
Because of state persecution, only a few of Grossman's post-war works
were published during his lifetime. After he submitted for publication
his magnum opus, the novel Life and Fate (Æèçíü è ñóäüáà, 1959), the KGB
raided his apartment. The manuscripts, carbon copies, notebooks, as well
as the typists' copies and even the typewriter ribbons were seized.
With the "Thaw period" underway after the death of Stalin, Grossman
wrote to Nikita Khrushchev: "What is the point of me being physically
free when the book I dedicated my life to is arrested... I am not
renouncing it... I am requesting freedom for my book." The Politburo
ideology chief Mikhail Suslov told Grossman that his book could not be
published for at least three hundred years:
I have not read your novel but I have carefully read the reviews of
your manuscript, responses to it, which contain many excerpts from your
novel. Look how many quotes from them I have written down....Why should
we add your book to the atomic bombs that our enemies are preparing to
launch against us? . . . Why should we publish your book and begin a
public discussion as to whether anyone needs the Soviet Union or not?
Life and Fate, as well as his last major novel, Forever Flowing (Âñå
òå÷åò, 1961), were considered a threat to the totalitarian regime, and
the dissident writer was effectively transformed into a nonperson.
Forever Flowing, in particular, is unique in its quiet, unforced, and
yet horrifying condemnation of the Soviet totalitarian state, a work in
which Grossman, liberated from worries about censors, spoke honestly
about Soviet history. Grossman died of stomach cancer in 1964, not
knowing whether his novels would ever be read by the public.
Memorial plaque in Donetsk where Grossman lived and worked in the
1930sLife and Fate was published in 1980 in Switzerland, thanks to
fellow dissidents: physicist Andrei Sakharov secretly photographed draft
pages preserved by Semyon Lipkin, and the writer Vladimir Voinovich
managed to smuggle the photographic films abroad. Two dissident
reserchers, professors and writers, Efim Etkind and Shimon Markish
retyped the text from the microfilm, with, of course, some mistakes and
misreadings due to the bad quality. The book was finally published on
Russian soil in 1988 after the policy of glasnost was initiated by
Mikhail Gorbachev. The text was again published in 1989, because after
the first publication some original manuscripts had emerged from the
oblivion. Forever Flowing was published in the Soviet Union also in
Life and Fate is considered to be an autobiographical work. Robert
Chandler, the novel's English translator, has written in his
introduction to the Harvill edition that its leading character, Viktor
Shtrum, "is a portrait of the author himself," reflecting in particular
his anguish at the murder of his mother at the Berdichev Ghetto. Chapter
18, a letter from Shtrum's mother, Anna, has been dramatized for the
stage and film The Last Letter (2002), directed by Frederick Wiseman,
and starring Catherine Samie. Chandler additionally suggests that the
character of Shtrum is based on the physicist Lev Landau.
Some critics have compared Grossman's novels to Leo Tolstoy's
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Lev Zalmanovich Kopelev (also Lev Zinovevich Kopelev; Russian: Ëåâ
Çàëìà́íîâè÷ Êî́ïåëåâ or Ëåâ Çèíî́âüåâè÷ Êî́ïåëåâ, German spelling Lew
Kopelew: April 9, 1912 – June 18, 1997) was a Jewish author and a
Kopelev was born in Kiev, Ukraine, to a middle-class Jewish family.
In 1926, his family moved to Kharkov. While a student at Kharkov State
University in the philosophy faculty, Kopelev began writing in the
Russian and Ukrainian languages; some of his articles were published in
the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper.
An idealist Communist and active Bolshevik, he was first arrested in
March 1929 for "consorting with the Bukharinist and Trotskyist
opposition," and spent ten days in prison.
Later, he worked as an editor of radio news broadcasts at a
locomotive factory. In 1932, as a correspondent, Kopelev witnessed the
NKVD's forced grain requisitioning and the "liquidation" (the Bolshevik
term) and deportation of the kulaks. Later, he described the Holodomor
in his memoirs The Education of a True Believer, quoted in Robert
Conquest's The Harvest of Sorrow (see also Collectivisation in the
He graduated from the Moscow State Institute of Foreign Languages in
1935 in the German language faculty, and, after 1938, he taught at the
Moscow Institute of Philosophy, Literature and History where he earned a
When the Great Patriotic War broke out in June 1941, he volunteered
for the Red Army and used his knowledge of German to serve as a
propaganda officer and an interpreter. When he entered East Prussia with
the Red Army throughout the East Prussian Offensive, he sharply
criticized the atrocities against the German civilian population and was
arrested in 1945 and sentenced to a ten-year term in the Gulag for
fostering bourgeois humanism and for "compassion towards the enemy". In
the sharashka Marfino he met Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Kopelev became a
prototype for Rubin from The First Circle.
Released in 1954, in 1956 he was rehabilitated. Still an optimist and
believer in the ideals of Communism, during the Khrushchev Thaw he
restored his CPSU membership. In 1957–1969 he taught in the Moscow
Institute of Polygraphy and the Institute of History of Arts.
It was Kopelev who first urged Aleksandr Tvardovsky, editor of the
literary journal Novyi mir, to publish Solzhenitsyn's short novel about
the Gulag, "One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich." The appearance of
the work in "Novyi mir" in November 1962, with approval of the Soviet
leadership, caused a sensation.
Since 1966 Kopelev actively participated in the human rights and
dissident movement. In 1968 he was fired from his job and expelled from
the CPSU and the Writers' Union for signing protest letters against the
persecution of dissidents, publicly supporting Andrei Sinyavsky and Yuli
Daniel and actively denouncing the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. He
also protested Solzhenitsyn's expulsion from the Writers' Union and
wrote in defense of dissenting General Pyotr Grigorenko, imprisoned at a
Kopelev's books were distributed via samizdat and were published in
For his political activism and contacts with the West, he was
deprived of the right to teach or be published in 1977.
As a scientist, Kopelev led a research project on the history of
Russian-German cultural links at the University of Wuppertal. In 1980,
while he was on a study trip to West Germany, his Soviet citizenship was
revoked. After 1981 Kopelev was a Professor at the University of
Kopelev was an honorary Ph.D. at the University of Cologne and a
winner of many international awards. In 1990 Gorbachev restored his
Kopelev was married for many years to Raisa Orlova, a Soviet
specialist in American literature, who emigrated with him to Germany.
Her memoirs were published in the United States in 1984.
Lev Kopelev died in 1997 in Cologne, Germany.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Eduard Kuznetsov (Russian language: Ýäóàðä Êóçíåöîâ; born in Moscow,
1939) is a Soviet dissident, human rights activist, and writer.
In 1961, Kuznetsov was arrested for the first time and served seven
years in Soviet prisons for making overtly political speeches in poetry
readings at Mayakovsky Square in the centre of Moscow and for publishing
After his release, he was one of the organizers of the
Dymshits-Kuznetsov hijacking affair in May 1970 and was arrested for
"high treason", punishable by the death sentence. His capital punishment
sentence was appealed and after international protests his sentence was
replaced with fifteen years of incarceration. This affair "opened the
doors of emigration to thousands of Soviet Jews." In 1970 Kuznetsov
shared a prison cell with Danylo Shumuk for five years.
"In 1979 he and four other dissidents were exchanged for two Soviet
spies arrested" in the US. Kuznetsov then emigrated to Israel. "From
1983 to 1990 he was chief of the news department of "Radio Liberty"."
In 1992 he cofounded the Israeli Russian-language newspaper, "Vesti"
("The News"), which he edited until 1999.
Kuznetsov is a member of the Pen Club and was widely published in
European, US and Israeli media. He is the author of three novels:
"Prison Diary", "Mordovian Marathon" ("both written secretly in prison
and smuggled abroad") and "Russian Romance", all of which have been
translated into many languages. In 1974, "Prison Diary" won the Gulliver
Award in France, being declared the best book written by a foreign
In 2005 Kuznetsov participated in "They Chose Freedom", a four-part
television documentary on the history of the Soviet dissident movement.
He currently lives in Jerusalem, Israel and is a board member of Soviet
dissident aid foundation The Gratitude Fund.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Anatoly Kuznetsov, mid-1960s
Anatoly Vasilievich Kuznetsov (Russian: Àíàòîëèé Êóçíåöîâ; August
18, 1929, Kiev–June 13, 1979, London) was a Russian language Soviet
writer who described his experiences in German-occupied Kiev during WWII
in his internationally acclaimed novel Babi Yar: A Document in the Form
of a Novel. The book was originally published in a censored form in 1966
in the Russian language.
Career in the USSR
Kuznetsov was born to a Russian father and a Ukrainian mother, his
passport stated that he was Russian. He grew up in the Kiev district of
Kurenivka, in his own words "a stone's throw from a vast ravine, whose
name, Babi Yar, was once known only to locals." At the age fourteen,
Kuznetsov began recording in a notebook everything he saw as a witness
and heard about the Babi Yar massacre. Once his mother discovered and
read his notes. She cried and advised him to save them for a book he
might write someday.
Before becoming a writer, Kuznetsov "studied ballet and acting, tried
painting and music, worked as a carpenter, road builder, concrete
worker, helped build the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant on the
Dniper river, and worked on the Irkutsk and Bratsk hydroelectric power
plants in Siberia." In 1955, he joined the Communist Party of the Soviet
Union. Eventually, he began "studying to become a writer" and enrolled
at the Moscow Gorky Literary Institute.
In 1957, literary magazine Yunost featured his novella entitled
Continuation of a Legend. Kuznetsov described his first experience with
publishers as follows:
"I wrote the novella ‘Continuation of a Legend’ and offered it to
Yunost magazine. It tells the story of a young man, who came to work in
Siberia with a solid youthful belief in something better, in some
ultimate good, despite all the hardships and poverty. The Yunost editors
liked the novella very much but said they couldn’t publish it: the
censors wouldn’t allow it, the magazine would be closed, and I would be
arrested or, in the worst case, barred from literature for life. Above
all, Western propagandists might pick up this story and run with it:
‘See, this is proof of how terrible life in the Soviet Union really is!’
Experienced writers told me that the novella could be saved, that at
least a part of it must be brought to the readers’ attention, that they
would know what came from the heart and what I had to write for form’s
sake, and that I should add some optimistic episodes. For a long time my
novella gathered dust without any hope of being published, but
eventually I forced myself to add some optimistic episodes, which
contrasted so sharply with the overall style and were so outrageously
cheerful that no reader would take them seriously."
The novella was turned down, but eventually was published in a
heavily censored form and without author's approval. It was this version
that earned him a countrywide fame. He graduated in 1960 and was
admitted to the USSR Union of Writers and, by extension, to the State
Literary Fund. In the 1960s he became famous as one of the country's
most talented and progressive writers, the father of the genre of
He married Iryna Marchenko and was preparing to become a father. Soon
he and his pregnant wife moved to Tula.
The novel Babi Yar, published in Yunost in 1966, cemented Anatoly
Kuznetsov's fame. The novel included the previously unknown materials
about the execution of 33,771 Jews in the course of two days, September
29-30, 1941, in the Kiev ravine Babi Yar. The uncensored work included
materials highly critical of the Soviet regime. Working on it was not
easy. Kuznetsov recalled: "For a whole month in Kiev I had nightmares,
which wore me out so much that I had to leave without finishing my work
and temporarily switch to other tasks in order to regain my senses." In
a recently published letter to the Israeli journalist, writer, and
translator Shlomo Even-Shoshan dated May 17, 1965, Kuznetsov commented
on the Babi Yar tragedy:
"Before September 29, 1941, Jews were slowly being murdered in camps
behind a veneer of legitimacy. Treblinka, Auschwitz, etc. came later.
Since Babyn Yar murder became commonplace. I trust you know how they did
this. They published an order for all the Jews in the city to gather in
the vicinity of the freight yard with their belongings and valuables.
Then they surrounded them and began shooting them. Countless Russians,
Ukrainians, and other people, who had come to see their relatives and
friends “off to the train,” died in the swarm. They didn’t shoot
children but buried them alive, and didn’t finish off the wounded. The
fresh earth over the mass graves was alive with movement. In the two
years that followed, Russians, Ukrainians, Gypsies, and people of all
nationalities were executed in Babyn Yar. The belief that Babyn Yar is
an exclusively Jewish grave is wrong, and Yevtushenko portrayed only one
aspect of Babyn Yar in his poem. It is an international grave. Nobody
will ever determine how many and what nationalities are buried there,
because 90% of the corpses were burned, their ashes scattered in ravines
A shortened version of the novel was republished in 1967 in Russian
by "Moloda Gvardiya" publishing house in shortened form without the
Soon after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, Kuznetsov defected
from the USSR to the United Kingdom. His pretext for traveling abroad
was to do research for his new book on Lenin's stay in Britain. He
managed to smuggle 35-mm photographic film containing the uncensored
He arrived in London on a two-week visa, accompanied by Georgy
Andjaparidze, a suspected KGB "mamka", a secret police agent. Kuznetsov
managed to trick Andjapazidze by saying he wanted to find a prostitute
and instead ran for the nearest British government office. There he was
connected over the phone with David Floyd, a Russian-speaking journalist
and the Daily Telegraph's Soviet expert. Risking being caught, Kuznetsov
returned to the hotel to pick up his manuscripts, his favorite
typewriter and Cuban cigars.
Home Secretary James Callaghan and Prime Minister Harold Wilson
decided to grant Kuznetsov an unlimited residence visa in the UK.
Shortly after the public announcement of the British decision, Soviet
Ambassador Mikhail Smirnovsky demanded the author's return, but
Callaghan refused. Two days later, Smirnovsky called on Foreign
Secretary Michael Stewart and asked that Soviet diplomats be allowed to
see Kuznetsov, but Kuznetsov refused to meet with his countrymen.
Instead, he wrote a declaration of his reasons for leaving and three
letters: one to the Soviet government, another to the Communist Party of
the Soviet Union, and a third to the USSR Union of Writers.
Sunday Telegraph published David Floyd’s interview with Kuznetsov,
who spoke about his ties with the KGB, how he was recruited, and how he
had formally agreed to cooperate in order to be allowed to leave abroad.
Babi Yar was published in the West in 1970 under pseudonym A. Anatoli.
In that edition, the censored Soviet version was put in regular type,
the content cut by censors in heavier type and newly added material was
in brackets. In the foreword to the edition by the New York-based
publishing house Posev Kuznetsov wrote:
"In the summer of 1969 I escaped from the USSR with photographic
films, including films containing the unabridged text of Babi Yar. I am
publishing it as my first book free of all political censorship, and I
am asking you to consider this edition of Babi Yar as the only authentic
text. It contains the text published originally, everything that was
expurgated by the censors, and what I wrote after the publication,
including the final stylistic polish. Finally, this is what I wrote."
During Kuznetsov's emigre years, he worked for Radio Liberty,
traveled a great deal, but did not write anything for ten years.
Kuznetzov died in London in 1979 from his third heart attack.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Pavel Litvinov during
his exile to Siberia
Pavel Litvinov (Russian: Ïàâåë Ìèõàéëîâè÷ Ëèòâèíîâ, born 1940) is a
Russian physicist, writer, human rights activist and former Soviet-era
dissident. He is the grandson of Maxim Litvinov, Joseph Stalin's foreign
minister during the 1930s, and as such was born and raised amongst the
Soviet elite. As a schoolboy, he was devoted to the cult of Stalin, and
was tapped, unsuccessfully, by the KGB to report on his parents Flora
and Misha Litvinov (a story that is related by the journalist David
Remnick in his book Lenin's Tomb).
After Stalin's death in 1953 and the return of family friends from
the labour camps, Pavel grew disillusioned with the Soviet system. He
had a short-lived marriage when he was 17. While in his 20s, he became a
physics teacher at the Institute for Chemical Technology and fell in
with a group of intellectuals who were following the show-trials of the
dissidents Andrei Sinyavsky and Yuli Daniel. His immersion in samizdat
literature at this time brought him into contact with the works of
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Varlam Shalamov and Robert Conquest.
The historical banner of the Red Square demonstrators, For your freedom
and ours.He participated in the 1968 Red Square demonstration against
the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia (see Prague Spring), that had
taken place four days earlier. Among the others were Larisa Bogoraz, a
philologist, Natalya Gorbanevskaya, a poet, Vadim Delaunay, poet, and
Viktor Fainberg, an art critic. They raised banners in Czech and
Russian, expressing support of the Czech independence and solidarity
with Alexander Dubček, the Czechoslovak leader who was the architect of
the Prague Spring.
The KGB promptly arrested the protesters, and their trial was held
that October. Litvinov was sentenced to five years' exile in Chita,
Siberia. In 1974, after his return from exile, he and his wife Maya left
the Soviet Union to Vienna by train and from there to Rome until they
moved to United States. Litvinov currently lives in the United States,
where he taught physics and mathematics at the Hackley School in
Tarrytown, New York from 1976 until his retirement in 2006.
In 2005 Pavel Litvinov participated in "They Chose Freedom", a
four-part television documentary on the history of the Soviet dissident
Pavel Litvinov is a son-in-law of the dissident and literary scholar
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Nadezhda Yakovlevna Mandelstam (Russian: Íàäåæäà ßêîâëåâíà Ìàíäåëüøòàì,
née Hazin; 31 October 1899 — 29 December 1980) was a Russian writer and
a wife of poet Osip Mandelstam.
Born in Saratov into a middle-class Jewish family, she spent her
early years in Kiev. After the gymnasium she studied art.
After their marriage in 1921, Nadezhda and Osip Mandelstam lived in
Ukraine, Petrograd, Moscow, and Georgia. Osip was arrested in 1934 for
his Stalin Epigram and exiled with Nadezhda to Cherdyn, in the Perm
region and later to Voronezh.
After Osip Mandelstam's second arrest and his subsequent death at a
transit camp "Vtoraya Rechka" near Vladivostok in 1938, Nadezhda
Mandelstam led an almost nomadic way of life, dodging her expected
arrest and frequently changing places of residence and temporary jobs.
On at least one occasion, in Kalinin, the NKVD came for her the next day
after she fled.
As her mission in life, she set to preserve and publish her husband's
poetic heritage. She managed to keep most of it memorized because she
didn't trust paper.
After the death of Stalin, Nadezhda Mandelstam completed her
dissertation (1956) and was allowed to return to Moscow (1958).
In her memoirs, Hope Against Hope and Hope Abandoned, first published
in the West, she gives an epic analysis of her life and criticizes the
moral and cultural degradation of the Soviet Union of the 1920s and
later. The titles of her memoirs are puns, Nadezhda in Russian meaning
In 1979 she gave her archives to Princeton University. Nadezhda
Mandelstam died in 1980 in Moscow, aged 81.
see also :
Mandelstam and Achmatova
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Anatoly Tikhonovich Marchenko (also Anatoli Marchenko, Anatolii
Marchenko, etc.) (January 23, 1938 – December 8, 1986) was an
influential and well-known Soviet dissident, author, and human rights
campaigner. He was the first recipient of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom
of Thought of the European Parliament, awarded to him posthumously in
1988 (the only recipient to be honoured in this manner to date).
Initially a worker on a drilling gang, and not of intellectual
background or upbringing, he became radicalized, and turned to writing
and politics, after being imprisoned as a young man on trumped-up
charges. During his time in the labour camps and prisons he studied, and
began to associate with dissidents.
He first became widely known through his book My Testimony, an
autobiographical account of his then-recent sentence in Soviet labour
camps and prison, which caused a sensation when it was released in the
West in 1969, after limited circulation inside the Soviet Union as
samizdat. It brought home to readers around the world, including the
USSR itself, that the Soviet gulag had not ended with Stalin.
He also became active in the Soviet human rights movement. He was one
of the founder members of the influential and much-emulated Moscow
Helsinki Group. He organized protests and appeals, and authored a number
of open letters, several of which landed him in prison again.
He was continually harassed by the authorities, and was imprisoned
for several different terms, spending about 20 years all told in prison
and internal exile. Nathan Shcharansky said of him: "After the release
of Yuri Orlov, he was definitely the number one Soviet prisoner of
He died in Chistopol prison hospital during his last incarceration,
at the age of 48, as a result of a three month long hunger strike he was
conducting, the goal of which was the release of all Soviet prisoners of
conscience. The widespread international outcry over his death was a
major factor in finally pushing then-General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev
to authorize the large-scale release of political prisoners in 1987.
Marchenko was born in Barabinsk, in Western Siberia, in 1938. His
parents were illiterate railway workers (his father, Tikon Akhimovich,
was a locomotive fireman, and his mother was a station cleaner). His
grandfather was a peasant, who had been shot by Kolchak. He had two
brothers, one of whom died very young.
He left school after only 8 years, two short of the normal full
secondary education. He then joined the Komsomol, and became a shift
foreman on a drilling gang. The gang travelled around Siberia, and on a
job at the Karaganda power station in 1958 he ran into trouble. Some
exiled Chechens began a fight with some of the Russian workers in the
hostel where Marchenko was staying; after the fight was over, and most
of the combatants had left, the police arrested everyone left in the
hostel, innocent and guilty alike, and they were all sent to the
Karaganda labour camps after a perfunctory trial.
Marchenko becomes a "political" prisoner
In 1960 he escaped from the camp (ironically, just as his sentence was
about to be overturned), and seeing no future for himself in the USSR,
tried to escape over the border into Iran. However, he was captured on
October 29 near Ashkabad, just short of the border. He was subsequently
tried for treason on March 2, 1961; the charge of treason was because he
supposedly intended to engage in work against the USSR for money; in
reality it was payback for his attempt to leave. On March 3, 1961, he
was convicted; it was a designation that would cripple his life, but
also change it, because it officially made him a "political" prisoner,
not an ordinary criminal. He was sentenced to six years in labour camp.
After several months in a series of transit prisons, he was moved to
a labour camp in Mordovia. He attempted to escape from there, but did
not succeed, and as a result he was sentenced to serve three years of
his sentence in prison, which he spent in infamous Vladimir Prison.
While in Vladimir he went on a long hunger strike, a tactic he would
often later repeat. In 1963, he was moved back to the labour camps in
Mordovia. While there, in March 1966, he survived a bout of suppurant
meningitis with almost no medical care, which caused problems with his
ears which would trouble him for the rest of his life.
During his time in the camps he educated himself by studying, reading
a number of socio-political works, including the complete works of
Lenin; he would later also read the complete works of Marx and Engels.
He also met a number of intellectual political prisoners, including Yuli
Daniel, a meeting that would later prove fateful for Marchenko.
First release, and the writing of My Testimony
Marchenko was released on November 2, 1966, and spent months travelling
through Russia, trying to find a locality which would let him register
to live there. He finally succeeded in being allowed to register in
Barabinsk, and later in Alexandrov, in the Vladimir oblast. From May
1968, while still formally living in Alexandrov, he was working in
Moscow as a loader, the only job available to him, even though doctors
had forbidden him to do hard manual labour.
During this time, he had met Larisa Bogoraz, the wife of Yuli Daniel
(although they were in the process of separating), and through her a
number of other people in their circle. He was determined to write a
record of the camps, and his fellow prisoners, and he enlisted their aid
in his project. They also helped him receive medical care, both for his
ears, and for problems with internal bleeding in his stomach.
By December 1967, he had finished work on his book, My Testimony, the
first book to reveal that the gulag had continued in full operation
through the rule of Khrushchev and on into that of Brezhnev. It was
described by the Daily Telegraph as "An extraordinarly important book
... a totally realistic, detailed, factual and yet profoundly and human
account of Russian prison and camp life...".
It provided a detailed account of both his time in labour camps and
prison, as well as a wide-ranging look at conditions there. The
publication of the book would later earn him further confinement for
anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda.
Marchenko openly becomes a dissident
On September 5, 1967, Marchenko announced to the authorities his
association with the dissident circle by appearing at a search of the
apartment of the mother of Alexander Ginzburg, the subject of another
famous show trial.
On March 27, 1968 he wrote an open letter to Alexander Chakovsky,
then editor of the Literaturnaya Gazeta, contradicting a letter from
Chakovsky which had been published that day, which had charged that
dissidents were "fed .. at public expense in [Soviet] prisons [and]
corrective labour colonies". Marchenko bitterly refuted the charges from
his own personal experience, pointing out that rations were minimal, and
the prisoners over-worked. On April 17, he followed this up with a
series of letters on the same subject to the head of the Soviet Red
Cross, and other highly-placed people.
His next focus was the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. On July 22
that year, he wrote an open letter to a variety of publications,
including Communist media in the West, about the situation there,
predicting that the Soviet Union would not allow the 'Prague Spring' to
This was too much for the authorities; as a result, on July 28, he
was arrested and charged with "violating passport regulations", because
of his presence in Moscow. On August 21 (ironically, the same day that
the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia, as he had predicted it would),
he was sentenced to the maximum penalty for that crime, one year in
labour camp. In reality, his crime had been the open letter about
He was then sent to a camp in the far-Northern province of Perm. He
was scheduled to be released on July 27, 1969, but before that could
happen, he was tried on charges of "defamation of the Soviet political
system", notionally for statements on the subjects of Czechoslovakia and
human rights in the USSR which he supposedly had made in camp. In
reality, as Soviet officials later admitted, it was payback for the
publication of My Testimony in the West. He was tried on that charge on
August 22, and convicted; on August 26 he was sentenced to a further two
years of imprisonment.
Siberian exile and family
Although many (including his American publisher, Dutton, did not expect
him to live through this imprisonment, he did, and was released in
Given a choice for his place of internal exile after release, he
chose Chuna, in Siberia, where his fellow dissident Larisa Bogoraz, was
also in internal exile. (She had been sentenced to four years of exile
after being arrested in August, 1968 for publicly protesting the
invasion of Czechoslovakia.)
Bogoraz was by now divorced from Yuli Daniel, a process that had
started before she met Marchenko. She and Marchenko had become lovers
during the period after his first release from prison; later, they
In September 1972, the couple moved back to Tarusa, where they moved
into a dilapidated house which Marchenko rebuilt. While there, they had
one son, Pavel, born that winter. Marchenko's health was still poor, and
he was unable to find any work other than manual labour as a furnace
stoker in a factory.
Marchenko continues with dissident activity
Tarusa was only about 100 kilometers from Moscow, so they were able to
maintain contact with dissident circles in the capital, which were
suffering increasing repression as they more openly challenged the
government. Marchenko and Bogoraz considered emigrating, but the
increasing repression moved him to act.
On August 23, 1973 he wrote to Kurt Waldheim (then Secretary-General
of the United Nations), expressing concern about the condition of
another imprisoned writer. A letter to Willy Brandt, warning of the
dangers of détente, followed. The authorities replied with increased
repressive measures aimed at Marchenko through 1974, and the more they
pressed him, the more it moved him to act.
On December 10 he wrote a letter to Nikolai Podgorny (then the
Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR) renouncing
his Soviet citizenship, and indicating he intended to emigrate to the
United States. The Soviet response was to encourage him to apply for an
exit visa to Israel, which they could use for propaganda purposes.
Typically, Marchenko refused to cooperate, even though he could have
easily changed his destination once out of the Soviet Union.
His first major hunger strike
In response to his refusal to cooperate in any way, on February 26, 1975
he was again arrested, and charged with violating the repressive
"administrative supervision" measures which had been imposed on him the
His response was to begin a hunger strike, on which he was still
engaged when he was tried a month later, on March 31. He was quickly
convicted, and sentenced that day to four years of internal exile to
Siberia, again to Chuna.
During a two-week wait for transport to begin, and for a week
thereafter, he continued his hunger strike. During this entire period,
he received no special treatment, and was handled just like all the
other prisoners. He only gave up on April 21, when it became clear to
him that he was at risk of death; his hunger strike had lasted 53 days.
His transportation to Siberia through a series of prisons (Sverdlovsk,
Novosibirsk, and Irkutsk) lasted through the rest of April, and May.
Life in exile again
On arrival in Chuna, he started work as a log handler at a sawmill, a
place where he had worked during his previous period of exile. Later in
1975, he suffered an attack of neuritis, and was hospitalized in Irkutsk,
although he was forced to leave before he was fully recovered.
During his exile in Siberia, he managed to complete his second book,
From Tarusa to Siberia, in October, 1975; it covers the then-recent
trial and hunger strike. In 1976, he was one of the founders of the
influential and pathbreaking Moscow Helsinki Group.
His last period of freedom
In September 1978, his term of exile ended, and he was allowed to leave
Chuna, and he and his family moved back to the vicinity of Moscow. He
was given an ultimatum to leave the Soviet Union or go back to prison,
but ignored it.
During this period, he completed his third and final book, To Live
Like Everyone; the title was a favourite phrase of his. It covered the
period from 1966 to 1969, when he was writing My Testimony, up through
his trial in retribution for its publication.
This book contributed to his demise, though: in 1980, he was arrested
for publishing it. On September 3, 1981 he went on trial for
"anti-Soviet agitation", and the next day was given a 15-year sentence
(the last 5 of internal exile). He would not complete this sentence.
Marcheko's final hunger strike, and death
Little is known of his last period of imprisonment, although in December
1983 he was badly beaten by guards, losing consciousness as a result.
Over the next few years, Bogoraz began a public campaign to free all
Soviet political prisoners, which proved ultimately successful when
Gorbachev began mass releases in 1987. However, this proved too late for
Marchenko, who had died not long before Gorbachev's announcement -
ironically, from the effects of a hunger strike demanding the release of
all Soviet political prisoners.
This last hunger strike started on August 4, 1986 when he wrote a
letter to the Helsinki review conference in Vienna. Sadly, there was
little reaction to his hunger strike from the world press. It continued
through November, although Bogoraz believed that he ended it around the
end of November, when he was placed on the sick list.
Although there were indications shortly before his death that the
Soviet authoritites were on the verge of releasing him, Marchenko died
before that could happen, on December 8, after being hospitalized the
The exact cause of his death is not certain; some reports indicate
problems with his heart, others a stroke. However, it was certainly
caused by the effects of the long hunger strike.
His wife and son travelled to Chistopol to bury him there; they were not
allowed to bring his body back to Moscow for burial.
He was buried on December 12, near the prison in Chistopol, after
Russian Orthodox rites at a church nearby. His widow was denied a death
certificate, and had to write his name in ballpoint pen on the pine
cross on his grave.
Moscow Helsinki Group
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Moscow Helsinki Group (also known as the Moscow Helsinki Watch
Group, Russian: Ìîñêîâñêàÿ Õåëüñèíêñêàÿ ãðóïïà) is an influential human
rights monitoring non-governmental organization, originally established
in what was then the Soviet Union; it still operates in Russia.
It was founded in 1976 to monitor the Soviet Union's compliance with
the recently-signed Helsinki Final Act of 1975, which included clauses
calling for the recognition of universal human rights.
Its pioneering efforts inspired the formation of similar groups in
other Warsaw Pact countries and support groups in the West. In
Czechoslovakia, Charter 77 was founded in January 1977; members of that
group would later play key roles in the overthrow of the communist
dictatorship in Czechoslovakia. In Poland, a Helsinki Watch Group was
founded in September 1979.
Eventually, the collection of Helsinki monitoring groups inspired by
the Moscow Helsinki Group formed the International Helsinki Federation.
Helsinki monitoring efforts began in the Soviet Union shortly after the
publication of the Helsinki Final Act in Soviet newspapers.
On May 12, 1976, physicist Yuri Orlov announced the formation of the
"Public Group to Promote Fulfillment of the Helsinki Accords in the
USSR" (Îáùåñòâåííàÿ ãðóïïà ñîäåéñòâèÿ âûïîëíåíèþ õåëüñèíêñêèõ ñîãëàøåíèé
â ÑÑÑÐ, Ìîñêîâñêàÿ ãðóïïà "Õåëüñèíêè") at a press-conference held at the
apartment of Andrei Sakharov. The newly inaugurated NGO was meant to
monitor Soviet compliance with the Helsinki Final Act. The eleven
founders of the group also included Lyudmila Alexeyeva, Mikhail
Bernshtam, Yelena Bonner, Alexander Ginzburg, Pyotr Grigorenko,
Alexander Korchak, Malva Landa, Anatoly Marchenko, Gregory Rosenstein,
Vitaly Rubin, and Anatoly Shcharansky. Ten other people, including Sofia
Kalistratova, Naum Meiman, Yuri Mniukh, Victor Nekipelov, Tatiana
Osipova, Felix Serebrov, Vladimir Slepak, Leonard Ternovsky, and Yuri
Yarym-Agaev joined the Group later.
The group's goal was to uphold the government of the Soviet Union to
implement the commitment to human rights it had made in the Helsinki
documents. Their group's legal validity was based on the provision in
the Helsinki Final Act, Principle VII, which establishes the rights of
individuals to know and act upon their rights and duties.
The Soviet authorities responded with severe repression of the
group's members over the following three years. They used tactics that
included arrests and imprisonment, internal exile, confinement to
psychiatric hospitals, and forced emigration. On 18 October 1976, 13
Jewish refuseniks came to the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet to
petition for explanations of denials of their right to emigrate from the
U.S.S.R., as affirmed under the Helsinki Final Act. Failing to receive
any answer, they assembled in the reception room of the Presidium on the
following day. After a few hours of waiting, they were seized by the
agents of militia, taken outside of the city limits and beaten. Two of
them were kept in police custody. In the next week, following an
unsuccessful meeting between the activists' leaders and the Soviet
Minister of Internal Affairs, General Nikolay Shchelokov, these abuses
of law inspired several mass demonstrations in the Soviet capital. On
Monday, October 25, 22 activists, including Mark Azbel, Felix Kandel,
Alexander Lerner, Ida Nudel, Anatoly Shcharansky, Vladimir Slepak, and
Michael Zeleny, were arrested in Moscow on their way to the next
demonstration. They were convicted of hooliganism and incarcerated in
the detention center Beryozka and other penitentiaries in and around
Moscow. An unrelated party, artist Victor Motko, arrested in Dzerzhinsky
Square on the account of wearing a woolly black beard, was detained
along with the protesters in recognition of his prior attempts to
emigrate from the U.S.S.R. These events were covered by several British
and American journalists including David K. Shipler , Craig R. Whitney,
and Christopher S. Wren. The October demonstrations and arrests
coincided with the end of the 1976 United States presidential election.
On October 25, U.S. Presidential candidate Jimmy Carter expressed his
support of the protesters in a telegram sent to Scharansky, and urged
the Soviet authorities to release them. (See Léopold Unger, Christian
Jelen, Le grand retour, A. Michel 1977; Ôåëèêñ Êàíäåëü, Çîíà îòäûõà, èëè
Ïÿòíàäöàòü ñóòîê íà ðàçìûøëåíèå, Òèïîãðàôèÿ Îëüøàíñêèé Ëòä, Èåðóñàëèì,
1979; Ôåëèêñ Êàíäåëü, Âðàòà èñõîäà íàøåãî: Äåâÿòü ñòðàíèö èñòîðèè,
Effect Publications, Tel-Aviv, 1980.) On 9 November 1976, a week after
Carter won the Presidential election, the Soviet authorities released
all but two of the previously arrested protesters. Several more were
subsequently rearrested and incarcerated or exiled to Siberia.
On 1 June 1978, refuseniks Vladimir and Maria Slepak stood on the
eighth story balcony of their apartment building. By then they had been
denied permission to emigrate for over 8 years. Vladimir displayed a
banner that read "Let us go to our son in Israel". His wife Maria held a
banner that read "Visa for my son". Fellow refusenik and Helsinki
activist Ida Nudel held a similar display on the balcony of her own
apartmemt. They were all arrested and charged with malicious hooliganism
in violation of Article 206.2 of the Penal Code of the Russian
Federation. The Helsinki Group protested their arrests in circulars
dated 5 and 15 June of that year. () Vladimir Slepak and Ida Nudel
were convicted of all charges. They served 5 and 4 years in Siberian
exile. (, )
By the end of 1981, only Elena Bonner, Sofia Kalistratova and Naum
Meiman were free, as a result of the unremitting campaign of
persecution. The Moscow Helsinki Group was forced to cease operation,
and it announced its own dissolution in September of 1982.
However, in 1989, in the atmosphere of glasnost, it was
re-established. A group of nine human rights activists, led by Larisa
Bogoraz, the widow of Anatoly Marchenko, formally restarted the group on
July 28, 1989. Included among the re-founders were Yuri Orlov and
Lyudmila Alexeyeva, both part of the original group. Other prominent
members are Larisa Bogoraz, Sergey Kovalev, Viatcheslav Bakhmin, Lev
Timofeev, Henry Reznick, Lev Ponomarev, Gleb Yakunin, and Aleksei
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Aleksandr Moiseyevich Nekrich
Aleksandr Moiseyevich Nekrich (Russian: Àëåêñàíäð Ìîèñååâè÷ Íåêðè÷)
(1920–1993) was a Soviet Russian historian, since 1976 in emigration to
the United States, known for his works on the history of the Soviet
Union, especially under Joseph Stalin’s rule.
Born in Baku, Azerbaijan, Nekrich fought in the Red Army ranks during
World War II and subsequently graduated from the Moscow University with
a degree in history. In 1950, he joined the Russian Academy of Sciences
Institute of General History as a senior researcher and a secretary of
that institute’s party cell.
Nekrich gained fame for his sensational work June 22, 1941; Soviet
Historians and the German Invasion, a study of the Soviet-German
confrontation during World War II, which was critical of Stalin and the
Soviet leadership over their failure to prepare the country for an
anticipated German onslaught. The book was harshly criticized and
quickly banned, while Nekrich was excluded from the Communist party. He
was allowed, though, to leave the Soviet Union in 1976. Nekrich settled
in the U.S. and lectured at Harvard. In emigration, Nekrich published
his memoirs (1979), wrote The Punished Peoples: The Deportation and Fate
of Soviet Minorities at the End of the Second World War (1978), and
coauthored, with Mikhail Heller, Utopia in Power: The History of the
Soviet Union from 1917 to the Present (1982).
Andrey Dmitriyevich Sakharov
Soviet physicist and dissident
born May 21, 1921, Moscow, Russia
died Dec. 14, 1989, Moscow
Soviet nuclear theoretical physicist, an outspoken advocate of human
rights, civil liberties, and reform in the Soviet Union as well as
rapprochement with noncommunist nations. In 1975 he was awarded the
Nobel Prize for Peace.
Sakharov was born into the Russian intelligentsia. His father, Dmitry
Sakharov, taught physics at several Moscow schools and institutes and
wrote popular scientific works and textbooks. A man of principle, he had
an enormous effect on his son. His mother, Ekaterina, remained at home
and took care of the family. Andrey Sakharov was tutored at home for
several years and entered school only in the fall of 1933. His
exceptional scientific promise was recognized early, and in 1938 he
enrolled in the physics department of Moscow State University. After the
outbreak of war with Germany in June 1941, he failed a medical exam and
was found unfit for military service. In October, he and his fellow
students were evacuated to Ashkhabad (now Ashgabat, Turkm.), capital of
the Turkmen Republic in Central Asia, where they resumed their studies
and graduated in 1942. He contributed to the war effort by working in
the laboratory of a munitions factory in Ulyanovsk. While working there,
he met Klavdia Vikhireva, and they were married in July 1943, a marriage
that lasted until her death in 1969. They had three children, Tanya,
Lyuba, and Dmitry.
In 1945 they returned to Moscow, where Sakharov began his graduate
work at the P.N. Lebedev Physics Institute of the Soviet Academy of
Sciences (FIAN) under the direction of Igor Y. Tamm, earning his
doctorate in two years. In June 1948 Tamm was appointed to head a
special research group at FIAN to investigate the possibility of
building a thermonuclear bomb. Sakharov joined Tamm’s group and, with
his colleagues Vitaly Ginzburg and Yuri Romanov, worked on calculations
produced by Yakov Zeldovich’s group at the Institute of Chemical
Physics. The Soviet discovery of the major ideas behind the
thermonuclear bomb went through several stages. Later in 1948 Sakharov
proposed a design in which alternating layers of deuterium and uranium
are placed between the fissile core of an atomic bomb and the
surrounding chemical high explosive. The scheme—analogous to American
physicist Edward Teller’s “Alarm Clock” design—was called Sloika, or
“Layer Cake” as it is usually translated. Sakharov referred to it as the
“First Idea.” Sakharov credits Ginzburg for the “Second Idea.” In 1949
Ginzburg published reports proposing substituting lithium deuteride for
the liquid deuterium. When bombarded with neutrons, the lithium yields
tritium, which when fused with the deuterium generates a greater release
In March 1950 Sakharov arrived at the “Installation” (KB-11 and later
Arzamas-16), located in what became the secret Soviet city of Sarov.
Under the scientific leadership of Yuly B. Khariton, work at KB-11 had
begun three years earlier to develop and produce Soviet nuclear weapons.
Members of the Tamm and the Zeldovich groups also went there to work on
the thermonuclear bomb. A Layer Cake model, small and light enough to be
deliverable by airplane, was detonated on Aug. 12, 1953, with a yield of
400 kilotons. Sakharov was rewarded with full membership in the Soviet
Academy of Sciences at age 32 and accorded the privileges of the
Nomenklatura, or elite members of the Soviet Union. While the 1953 test
was a significant milestone in thermonuclear development, it was not
based on the most advanced principles, and further work continued.
Sakharov assumed the duties of the theoretical department at the
Installation after Tamm returned to Moscow in 1953. The following year,
there was a conceptual breakthrough to develop high-performance
thermonuclear weapons. The “Third Idea,” of which Sakharov said he was
one of the originators, was a modern two-stage configuration using
radiation compression, analogous to the successful design of the
American physicists Teller and Stanislaw Ulam. On Nov. 22, 1955, the
Soviet Union successfully tested the design in a thermonuclear bomb
detonated over the Semipalatinsk test site.
Andrei Sakharov and Elena Bonner
In the late 1950s Sakharov became concerned about the consequences of
testing in the atmosphere, forseeing an eventual increased global death
toll over time. After years of attempts at private persuasion, in 1961
Sakharov went on record against Soviet Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev’s
plan for an atmospheric test of a 100-megaton thermonuclear bomb,
fearing the hazards of widespread radioactive fallout. The bomb was
tested at approximately half yield (58 megatons) on Oct. 30, 1961.
Through these efforts, Sakharov began to adopt strong moral positions
about the social responsibilities of scientists.
In 1964 Sakharov successfully mobilized opposition to the spurious
doctrines of the still-powerful Stalin-era biologist Trofim D. Lysenko.
In May 1968 Sakharov finished his essay Reflections on Progress,
Peaceful Coexistence, and Intellectual Freedom, which first circulated
as typewritten copies (samizdat) before being published in the West in
The New York Times and elsewhere beginning in July. Sakharov warned of
grave perils threatening the human race, called for nuclear arms
reductions, predicted and endorsed the eventual convergence of communist
and capitalist systems in a form of democratic socialism, and criticized
the increasing repression of Soviet dissidents. From this point until
his death, he became more politically active in support of the human
rights movement and other causes. As a consequence of his social
activism, he was banned from pursuing further military work.
In 1975 Sakharov was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. In detailing
its reasons for awarding him the prize, the Nobel Committee noted,
Sakharov’s fearless personal commitment in upholding the fundamental
principles for peace between men is a powerful inspiration for all true
work for peace. Uncompromisingly and with unflagging strength Sakharov
has fought against the abuse of power and all forms of violation of
human dignity, and he has fought no less courageously for the idea of
government based on the rule of law. In a convincing manner Sakharov has
emphasized that Man’s inviolable rights provide the only safe foundation
for genuine and enduring international cooperation.
Andrei Sakharov and Elena Bonner
The Soviet government reacted with extreme irritation and prevented
Sakharov from leaving the country to attend the Nobel ceremony in Oslo.
Sakharov’s Nobel lecture, “Peace, Progress, and Human Rights,” was
delivered by Yelena G. Bonner, a human rights activist whom he had
married in 1972. Sakharov and Bonner continued to speak out against
Soviet political repression at home and hostile relations abroad, for
which Sakharov was isolated and became the target of official censure
and harassment. In January 1980 the Soviet government stripped him of
his honours and exiled him to the closed city of Gorky (now Nizhny
Novgorod) to silence him following his open denunciation of the Soviet
invasion of Afghanistan and his call for a worldwide boycott of the
coming Olympic Games in Moscow. In 1984 Bonner was convicted of
anti-Soviet activities and was likewise confined to Gorky.
In 1985 Sakharov undertook a six-month hunger strike, eventually
forcing the new Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev to grant Bonner
permission to leave the country to have a heart bypass operation in the
United States. During her six-month absence, she also met with Western
leaders and others to focus concern on her husband’s causes, and she
wrote a book about their plight, entitled Alone Together (1986). Several
months after she rejoined her husband, Gorbachev released Sakharov and
Bonner from their exile, and in December 1986 they returned to Moscow
and to a new Russia.
The final three years of Sakharov’s life were filled with meetings
with world leaders, press interviews, travel abroad, renewed contacts
with his scientific colleagues, and the writing of his memoirs. In March
1989 he was elected to the First Congress of People’s Deputies,
representing the Academy of Sciences. Sakharov had his honours restored,
received new ones, and saw many of the causes for which he had fought
and suffered become official policy under Gorbachev and his successors.
Thomas B. Cochran
Robert S. Norris
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Varlam Tikhonovich Shalamov (Russian: Âàðëà́ì Òè́õîíîâè÷ Øàëà́ìîâ; June
18, 1907–January 17, 1982), baptized as Varlaam, was a Russian writer,
journalist, poet and Gulag survivor.
Varlam Shalamov was born in Vologda, Vologda Governorate, a Russian city
with a rich culture famous for its wooden architecture, to a family of a
hereditary Russian Orthodox priest and teacher, Father Tikhon
Nikolayevich Shalamov, a graduate of the Vologda Seminary. At first
young Shalamov was named and baptized after the patron of Vologda, Saint
Varlaam Khutinskiy (1157-1210); Shalamov later changed his name to the
more common Varlam. Shalamov's mother, Nadezhda (Nadia) Aleksandrovna,
was a teacher as well. She also enjoyed poetry, and Varlam speculated
that she could have become a poet if not for her family. His father
worked as a missionary in Alaska for 12 years from 1892, and Varlam's
older brother, Sergei, grew up there (he volunteered for World War I and
was killed in action in 1917); they returned as events were heating up
in Russia by 1905. In 1914, Varlam entered the gymnasium of St.
Alexander's and graduated in 1923. After the October Revolution the
Soviet regime confiscated Shalamov's house that stands right behind the
local church to this day.
Upon his graduation it became clear that the Regional Department of
People's Education (RONO, Regionalnoe Otdelenie Narodnogo Obrazovania)
would not support his further education because Varlam was a son of a
priest. Therefore he found a job as a tanner at the leather factory in
the settlement of Kuntsevo (since 1960 part of the Moscow city). In
1926, after having worked for two years, he was accepted into the
department of Soviet Law at Moscow State University through open
competition. While studying there Varlam was intrigued by the oratory
skills displayed during the debates between Anatoly Lunacharsky and
Metropolitan Alexander Vvedensky. At that time Shalamov was convinced
that he would become a literature specialist.
Shalamov joined a Trotskyist-leaning group and on February 19, 1929, was
arrested and sent to Butyrskaya prison for solitary confinement. He was
later sentenced to three years of correctional labor in the town of
Vizhaikha, convicted of distributing the "Letters to the Party Congress"
known as Lenin's Testament, which were critical of Stalin, and of
participating in a demonstration marking the tenth anniversary of the
Soviet revolution with the slogan "Down with Stalin." Courageously he
refused to sign the sentence branding him a criminal. By train he was
taken to the former Solikamsk monastery (Solikamsk), which was
transformed into a militsiya headquarters of the Visher department of
Solovki ITL OGPU (VishLAG). It was here that Shalamov truly realized
what the Soviet government was all about and it was here the security
guards returned him to the reality of life from the revolutionary
euphoria that took Russia as a hostage. Shalamov was released in 1931
and worked in the new town of Berezniki, Perm Oblast at the local
chemical plant construction site. He was given the opportunity to travel
to Kolyma for colonization. Sarcastically, Shalamov said that he would
go there only under enforced escort, but, ironically, fate would hold
him to his promise later. He returned to Moscow in 1932, where he worked
as a journalist and managed to see some of his essays and articles
published, including his first short story "The three deaths of Doctor
At the outset of the Great Purge, on January 12, 1937, Shalamov was
arrested again for "counter-revolutionary Trotskyist activities" and
sent to Kolyma, also known as "the land of white death," for five years.
He was already in jail awaiting sentencing when one of his short stories
was published in the literary journal Literary Contemporary. In 1943 he
was sentenced to another term, this time for 10 years, under Article 58
(anti-Soviet agitation): the crime was calling Ivan Bunin a "classic
Russian writer." The conditions he endured were extreme, first in gold
mining operations, and then in coal mining. He was repeatedly sent to
punishment zones, both for his political "crimes" and for his attempt to
escape. There he managed to survive while sick with typhus of which
Shalamov was not aware until he became well. At that time as he
recollects in his writings that he did not care much about his survival.
In 1946, while becoming a dokhodyaga (an emaciated and devitalized
state), in Russian literally means the one who's moving towards the
ultimate end, his life was saved by a doctor-inmate A.I. Pantyukhov, who
risked his own life to get Shalamov a place as a camp hospital
attendant. The new "career" allowed Shalamov to survive and concentrate
on a poetry.
In 1951 Shalamov was released from the camp, and continued working as a
medical assistant for the forced labor camps of SevvostokLAG while still
writing. In 1952 he sent his poetry to Boris Pasternak, who praised
Shalamov's work. After his release he was faced with the dissolution of
his former family, including a grown-up daughter who now refused to
recognize her father.
Shalamov was allowed to leave Magadan in November 1953 following the
death of Stalin in March of that year, and was permitted to go to the
village of Turkmen in Kalinin Oblast, near Moscow, where he worked as a
Life as Novelist and Kolyma Tales
Beginning in 1954, and continuing until 1973, he worked on his book of
short stories of labour camp life, Kolyma Tales.
During the Khrushchev thaw, enormous numbers of inmates were released
from the GULAG and rehabilitated, many posthumously. Shalamov was
allowed to return to Moscow after having been officially rehabilitated
in 1956. In 1957, he became a correspondent for the literary journal
Moskva, and his poetry began to be published. His health, however, had
been broken by his years in the camps, and he received an invalid's
Shalamov proceeded to publish poetry and essays in the major Soviet
literary magazines while writing his magnum opus, Kolyma Tales. He was
acquainted with Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Boris Pasternak, and Nadezhda
Mandelstam. The manuscripts of Kolyma Tales were smuggled abroad and
distributed via samizdat. The translations were published in the West in
1966. The complete Russian-language edition was published in London in
1978, and reprinted thereafter both in Russian and in translation.
Kolyma Tales is considered to be one of the great Russian collections of
short stories of the twentieth century.
Gospodin Solzhenitsyn, I willingly accept Your funeral joke on the
account of my death. With the feeling of honor and pride I consider
myself the first Cold War victim which have fallen from Your hand … From
the undispatched letter of V.T.Shalamov to A.I.Solzhenitsyn
In addition, he wrote a series of autobiographical essays that
vividly bring to life Vologda and his life before prison.
Retraction controversy and death
The Western publishers always provided the disclaimer that Shalamov's
stories were being published without the author's knowledge or consent.
Surprisingly, in 1972 Shalamov retracted the Tales, most likely being
forced to do so by the Soviet regime. As his health deteriorated, he
spent the last three years of his life in a house for elderly and
disabled literary workers in Tushino. Shalamov died on January 17, 1982,
and was interred at Kuntsevo Cemetery, Moscow.
The book was finally published on Russian soil in 1987, as a result
of Mikhail Gorbachev's glasnost policy. Selections from Kolyma Tales are
now mandatory reading for high school children in the Russian
In 1980s his family's house still was standing next to the town's
cathedral. Since 1991 the house has been turned into the Shalamov's
Memorial Museum as well as the local picture gallery. The cathedral's
hill in Vologda is called Shalamov's in his memory.
One of his Kolyma short stories, "The Final Battle of Major Pugachoff,"
was made into a film (Ïîñëåäíèé áîé ìàéîðà Ïóãà÷¸âà) in 2005.
A minor planet 3408 Shalamov discovered by Soviet astronomer Nikolai
Stepanovich Chernykh in 1977 is named after him. A memorial to Shalamov
was erected in Krasnovishersk in June 2007, the site of his first labor
His funeral was attended by some 150 people. At his burial site the
Shalamov's friend, Fedot Fedotovich Suchkov, has erected a monument,
which in the year of 2000 was destroyed by somebody unknown. The
criminal case was closed as uncompleted. With the help of some workers
from SeverStal the monument was reestablished in 2001.
Thanks to the Soviet regime the name of Shalamov is now illogically
associated with something of a former outlaw while he was, in fact, the
son of a hereditary priest. The gratitude should also be extended for
the state's support for his goal in life. Due to that his works contain
an enormous deal of bitterness towards people and the government.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Andrei Donatovich Sinyavsky (Russian language: Àíäðåé Äîíàòîâè÷
Ñèíÿâñêèé) (8 October 1925, Moscow - 25 February 1997, Paris) was a
Russian writer, dissident, gulag survivor, emigrant, Professor of
Sorbonne University, magazine founder and publisher. He frequently wrote
under the pseudonym Àáðàì Òåðö (Abram Tertz).
During a time of extreme censorship in the Soviet Union, Sinyavsky
published his novels in the West under a pseudonym. The historical Abram
Tertz was a Jewish gangster from Russia's past, Sinyavsky himself was
not Jewish; his father, Donat Sinyavsky, was a Russian nobleman from
Syzran, who turned Social Revolutionary and was arrested several times
as an enemy of the people. During his last stay in jail Donat Sinyavsky
became ill, and, after his release, developed mental illness. Andrei
Sinyavsky described his father's experiences in the novel "Goodnight!"
A protege of Boris Pasternak, Sinyavsky described the realities of
Soviet life in short fiction stories. In 1965, he was arrested, along
with fellow-writer and friend Yuli Daniel, and tried in the infamous
Sinyavsky-Daniel show trial. On February 14, 1966, Sinyavsky was
sentenced to seven years on charges of "anti-Soviet activity" for the
opinions of his fictional characters.
The affair was accompanied by harsh propaganda campaign in the Soviet
media and was perceived as a sign of demise of the Khrushchev Thaw.
As historian Fred Coleman writes, "Historians now have no difficulty
pinpointing the birth of the modern Soviet dissident movement. It began
in February 1966 with the trial of Andrei Sinyavsky and Yuli Daniel, two
Russian writers who ridiculed the Communist regime in satires smuggled
abroad and published under pen names...Little did they realize at the
time that they were starting a movement that would help end Communist
Sinyavsky was released in 1971 and allowed to emigrate in 1973 to
France, where he was one of co-founders, together with his wife Maria
Rozanova of the Russian-language almanac Sintaksis. He actively
contributed to Radio Liberty. He died in 1997 in Fontenay-aux-Roses,
Sinyavsky was the catalyst for the formation of an important
Russian-English translation team: Larissa Volokhonsky and Richard Pevear,
who have translated a number of works by Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoyevski,
Nikolai Gogol, Anton Chekhov, and Mikhail Bulgakov. Volokhonsky, who was
born and raised in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), first visited the
United States in the early 1970s and happened across Pevear's Hudson
Review article about Sinyavsky. At the time, Pevear believed Sinyavsky
was still in a Russian prison; Volokhonsky had just helped him immigrate
to Paris. Pevear was surprised and pleased to be mistaken: "Larissa had
just helped Sinyavsky leave Russia," Pevear recalled. "And she let me
know that, while I'd said he was still in prison, he was actually in
Paris. I was glad to know it."
Russian author and historian, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for
Literature in 1970. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn continued the realistic
tradition of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy and complemented it with his views
of the flaws of both East and West. In the 1960s and 1970s he produced a
number of major novels based on his own experiences of Soviet prisons
and hospital life. Later he saw that his primary mission is to rewrite
the Russian history of the revolutionary period in the multivolumed work
The Red Wheel (1983-1991).
"He had drawn many a thousand of these rations in prisons and camps,
and though he'd never had an opportunity to weight them on scales, and
although, being a man of timid nature, he knew no way of standing up for
his rights, he, like every other prisoner, had discovered long ago that
honest weight was never to be found in the bread-cutting. There was
short weight in every ration. The only point was how short. So every day
you took a look to soothe your soul - today, maybe, they haven't
snitched any." (from One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, 1962)
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn descended from an intellectual Cossack family. He
was born in Kislovodsk in the northern Caucasus Mountains, between the
Black and Caspian seas. His father, Isaaki Solzhenitsyn, a tsarist
artillery officer, was killed in an hunting accident six months before
Aleksandr's birth. During WW I he had served on the front, where he
married Taissia Shchberbak, Solzhenitsyn's mother.
To support herself and her son, Taissia worked in Rostov as a typist
and did extra work in the evenings. Because the family was extremely
poor, Solzhenitsyn had to give up his plans to study literature in
Moscow. Instead he enrolled in Rostov University, where he studied
mathematics and physics, graduating in 1941. In 1939-41 he took
correspondence courses in literature at Moscow State University. In 1940
he married Natalia Alekseevna Reshetovskaia; they divorced in 1950,
remarried in 1957, and divorced again in 1972. In 1973 Solzhenitsyn
married Natalia Svetlova; they had three sons, Yermolai, Stephan, and
Ignat. Dmitri was the son from Svetlova's first marriage to Prof. Andrei
Tiurin. Svetlova, born in 1939, was a postgraduate of the mechanical
department of Moscow State University.
In WW II Solzhenitsyn achieved the rank of captain of artillery and
was twice decorated. From 1945 to 1953 he was imprisoned for writing a
letter in which he criticized Joseph Stalin - "the man with the
mustache." Solzhenitsyn served in the camps and prisons near Moskow, and
in a camp in Ekibastuz, Kazakhstan (1945-53). During these years,
Solzhenitsyn's double degree in mathematics and physics saved him mostly
from hard physical labour, although in 1950 he was taken to a new kind
of camp, created for political prisoners only, where he worked as a
"The Kolyma was the greatest and most famous island, the pole of
ferocity of that amazing country of Gulag, which, though scattered in an
archipelago geographically, was, in the psychological sense, fused into
a continent - an almost invisible, almost imperceptible country
inhabited by the Zek people." (from The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956,
From Marfino, a specialized prison that employed mathematicians and
scientist in research, Solzhenitsyn was transferred to forced-labour
camp in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic; there he developed stomach
cancer. Between 1953 and 1956 Solzhenitsyn was exiled to South
Kazakhstan village of Kok-Terek. To supported himself Solzhenitsyn
worked as a mathematics and physics teacher. Solzhenitsyn also wrote in
secret. He developed a cancer, but was successfully treated in Tashkent
(1954-55). Later these experiences became basis for the novels First
Circle and Cancer Ward. After rehabilitation, Solzhenitsyn settled in
Riazan as a teacher (1957).
At the age of 42, Solzhenitsy had written a great deal, but published
nothing. After Nikita Khrushchev had publicly condemned the "cult of
personality" - an attack on Stalin's heritage - the political censorship
loosened its tight grip for a period. Solzhenitsyn's first book, One Day
in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, appeared next year in the leading Soviet
literary journal Novyi Mir. It marked the beginning of Soviet
prison-camp literature. Solzhenitsyn used third-person direct speech,
examining the Soviet life through the eyes of a simple Everyman. Written
in clear and honest style, it described the horrors of just one day in a
labour camp. The book gained fame both in the USSR and the West, and was
compared with Fedor Dostoyevsky's novel House of the Dead. With the
royalties, Solzhenitsyn bought a green Moskvich car.
Novyi Mir published also the stories 'Matryona's Home' and 'An
Incident at Krechetovka Station', but rejected Cancer Ward (1968), in
which Kostoglotov, the protagonist, was a semi-authorial figure. The
characters confront questions of life and death, truth and falsehood -
emphasized by the discussion of Lev Tolstoi's What Do Men Live For? in
the ward. Stalinism is paralleled with the tragedy of those in the
hospital suffering from cancer: an informer has cancer of the tongue.
The Fist Circle (1968) was set during the late 1940s and early 1950s,
and drew a picture of a class of intellectuals, research scientists,
caught up in the system of prisons and camps. They are forced to work
for the secret police, and debate endlessly about politics and the
principles of morality. The title of the book referred to the least
painful circle of Hell in Dante's Inferno. However, if the prisoners do
not produce satisfactory work, they will found themselves in the lower
circles of the labor camps.
The period of official favour lasted only a few years. Between the
years 1963 and 1966 Solzhenitsyn managed to publish only four stories
and finally all his manuscripts were censored. Khrushchev himself was
forced into retirement in 1964. The KGB confiscated the novel V KRUGE
PERVON and other writings in 1965. Solzhenitsyn refused to join his
colleagues who protested prison sentences imposed on the writers,
because he "disapproved of writers who sought fame abroad", but in 1969
he was expelled in absentia from the Writers' Union. "Dust off the clock
face," Solzhenitsyn said in his open letter after the expulsion. "You
are behind the times. Throw open the sumptuous heavy curtain - you do
not even suspect that day is already dawning outside." From 1971 his
unpublished manuscripts were smuggled in the West. These works secured
Solzhenitsyn's international fame as one of the most prominent opponents
of government policies.
Rejecting the ideology of his youth, Solzhenitsyn came to believe
that the struggle between good and evil cannot be resolved among
parties, classes or doctrines, but is waged within the individual human
heart. During the Cold War years, this Tolstoian view and search for
Christian morality was considered radical in the ideological atmosphere
of the Soviet Union in the 1960s and 1970s. As the great 19th-century
Russian writers, Solzhenitsyn assumed the role of an observer. "Where
can I read about us? Will that be only in a hundred years?" says a woman
in Cancer Ward. Solzhenitsyn became a chronicler, witness whose own
experiences are part of the way to approach truth and judge.
The first volume of The Gulag Archipelago appeared in 1973. (Gulag
stands for "Chief Administration of Corrective Labor Camps.") For the
work Solzhenitsyn collected excerpts from documents, oral testimonies,
eyewitness reports, and other material, which all was inflammable. The
detailed account of the network of prison and labor camps - scattered
like islands in a sea - in Stalin's Russia angered the Soviet
authorities and Solzhenitsyn was arrested and charged with treason. "A
great writer is, so to speak, a second government in his country,"
Solzhnenitsyn wrote in The First Circle. "And for that reason no regime
has ever loved great writers, only minor ones."
As with Boris Pasternak, the Soviet government denounced
Solzhenitsyn's Nobel Prize as a politically hostile act. "If
Solzhenitsyn continues to reside in the country after receiving the
Nobel Prize, it will strenghten his position, and allow him to
propaganda his views more actively," wrote the KGB chief Yuri Andropov
in a secret memorandum.
In 1974 the author was exiled from the Soviet Union. He lived first
in Switzerland and moved then in 1976 to the United States, where he
continued to write series called The Red Wheel, an epic history of the
events, that led to the Russian Revolution. August 1914 (1971),
constructed in fragmented style, focused on the defeat of the Russian
Second Army in East Prussia. Although Solzhenitsyn did not have much
sympathy for intentionally experimental, avant-garde literature, he used
also in this work documents, proverbs, songs, newspapers, and imitation
film scripts. With these technical devices Solzhenityn managed to create
a broad social picture of this crucial moment of history.
"Exile from his great theme, Stalinism and the Gulag, had exposed his
major weakness. Whatever its origins - and I suspect it was born early
in his life - an overpowering repression would not allow him to
penetrate below the conscious level of his mind. In his earlier works
this did not matter, for he was able to externalize his unconscious: the
savage, Inferno-esque vision of Gulag is, in a sense, a projection of
his own repressed violence - on a gargantuan scale, because of the
intensity of the repression. Lacking a strong fictive sense, he could
never have invented and Inferno, as Dante did; he didn't need to,
because this Russian Inferno existed. He hacked the salamander out of
the ice. No one else in world literature, ever, could have done it."
(D.M. Thomas in Alexander Solzhenitsyn, 1998)
After collapse of the Soviet Union Solzhenitsyn returned from Vermont to
his native land in 1994. The new regime, led by Mikhail S. Gorbachev,
had offered to restore his citizenship already in 1990, and next year
his treason charges were formally dropped. Solzhenitsyn made a
sensational whistle-stop tour through Siberia, becoming a highly popular
figure. Solzhenitsyn was also received by President Yeltsin and in 1994
he gave an address to Russian Duma.
Solzhenitsyn settled in Moscow, where he continued to criticize
western materialism and Russian bureaucracy and secularization. Western
democratic system meant for Solzhenitsyn "spiritual exhaustion" in which
"mediocrity triumphs under the guise of democratic restraints." "We have
been through a spiritual training far in advance of Western experience.
The complex and deadly crush of life has produced stronger, deeper, and
more interesting personalities than those generated by standardized
Western well-being." (from a speech given in Harvard in 1978)
Sozhenitsyn's old Russian ideals were already explicit in the character
of Matryona in 'Matryona's House'. Its narrator meets a saintly woman,
whose life has been full of disappointments but who helps others. "We
had lived side by side her and had never understood that she was the
righteous one without whom,. as the proverb says, no village can stand."
In modern Russia Solzhenitsyn was soon labelled as "a reactionary
utopian". His basic message was that the only salvation is to abandon
materialist world view and return to the virtues of Holy Russia. Due to
low ratings, Solzhenitsyn's 15-minute talk show was cancelled a year
after it was started, but the television adaptation of The First Circle,
broadcasted in 2006, gained a huge audience.
The Solzhenitsyn Prize for Russian writing was established in 1997.
Since his return Solzhenitsyn, published several works, but in the West
his views did not gain the former interest, with the exception of the
essay Rebuilding Russia (1990) which was widely read and arose much
debate. Solzhenitsyn's later books include ROSSIYA V OBVALE (1998,
Russia Collapsing), an attack on Russia's business circles and
government, published by Viktor Moskvin. The first printing was 5 000
copies. He also wrote on Russian-Jewish relations. In January 2003
Solzhenitsyn was hospitalized with high blood pressure. "For me faith is
the foundation and support of one’s life," Solzhenitsyn said in a
Spiegel interview (July 23, 2007). In 2007, Russian President Vladimir
Putin granted Solzhenitsyn a State Award for humanitarian achievement,
saying that millions of people around the world associate Solzhenitsyn's
name and work with the very fate of Russia itself. Solzhenitsyn died
from a heart condition on August 3, 2008.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Georgi Nikolaevich Vladimov (Volosevich) (February 19 1931 Kharkiv,
Ukraine - October 19 2003 Frankfurt, Germany) was a Russian dissident
In 1977 he became the leader of the Moscow section of Amnesty
International, forbidden in the USSR.
Vladimov's most famous novel was Faithful Ruslan
(English translation: 1979, ISBN 067124633X), the tale of Ruslan, a
guard dog in a Soviet Gulag labor camp, told by the dog.
His novel General i yego armiya (“The General and His Army”), on
General Vlasov, was awarded the Russian Booker Prize in 1995 and
Sakharov Prize in 2000.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Vladimir Nikolayevich Voinovich (alternatively spelled Voynovich,
Russian: Âëàäèìèð Âîéíîâè÷, born September 26, 1932 in Stalinabad,
Tajikstan, Soviet Union) is a prominent Russian writer and a dissident.
He is a member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Department
of Language and Literature.
Voinovich was born to father of Serbian descent, journalist, and mother
of Jewish descent, professor of mathematics. His ancestor, Ivo Vojnović,
was a prominent Serbian writer from Dubrovnik.
Voinovich is famous for his satiric fiction but also wrote some
poetry. While working for Moscow radio in the early 1960s, he produced
the lyrics for the cosmonauts' anthem, Fourteen Minutes Till the Start
("14 ìèíóò äî ñòàðòà"). Between 1951 and 1955, Voinovich also served in
the Soviet Army during peace time.
At the outset of the Brezhnev stagnation period, Voinovich's writings
stopped being published in the USSR, but became very popular samizdat
and in the West. For his writing and participation in the human rights
movement, Voinovich was excluded from the Soviet Writers' Union in 1974,
his telephone line was cut off in 1976 and he and his family were forced
to emigrate in 1980. He settled in Munich, West Germany and worked for
Voinovich helped publish Vasily Grossman's famous novel Life and Fate
by smuggling photo films secretly taken by Andrei Sakharov.
Gorbachev restored his Soviet citizenship in 1990 and since then the
writer spends most of his time in the new Russia. Widowed in 2004, he
now lives in Moscow. Voinovich has a son by his first wife and a
daughter, Olga, by his second wife, the recently deceased, Irina.
Voinovich has won many international awards and honor titles, such as
Sakharov Award (2002), State Award of the Russian Federation (2000) and
more. Since 1995 he has ventured into graphic arts and sells his
paintings in Russian galleries and on the Web.
His magnum opus The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan
Chonkin ("Æèçíü è íåîáû÷àéíûå ïðèêëþ÷åíèÿ ñîëäàòà Èâàíà ×îíêèíà") is set
in the Red Army during World War II, satirically exposing the daily
absurdities of the totalitarian regime. "Chonkin" is now a widely known
figure in Russian popular culture and the book was also made into a film
by the famous Czech director Jiří Menzel. Chonkin is often referred to
as "the Russian Švejk".
In 1986 he wrote a satire novel Moscow 2042. In this novel, Voinovich
predicted that Russia will be ruled by the "Communist Party of State
Security" which combines the KGB, Russian Orthodox Church and the
Communist party. This party is led by a KGB general Bukashin (name
literally meaning "the insect") who met main character of the novel in
Germany. An extreme Slavophile Sim Karnavalov (apparently inspired by
Solzhenitsyn) enters Moscow on a white horse.
His other novels have also won acclaim: Ivankiada, his novel about a
writer trying to get an apartment in the bureaucratic clog of the Soviet
system. The Fur Hat, is, in many ways, a satire of Gogol's Overcoat. His
Monumental Propaganda is a stinging critique of post-Communist Russia, a
story that shows the author's opinion that Russians haven't changed much
since the days of Stalin.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Zinovyev (Russian: Àëåêñà́íäð Àëåêñà́íäðîâè÷
Çèíî́âüåâ; October 29, 1922 – May 10, 2006, Russia) was an
internationally recognised Russian logician, sociologist and writer.
Son of a poor Russian peasant, Zinovyev distinguished himself as a
fighter pilot in the Second World War, and later as a scientist, having
earned a professor’s title and international recognition in the field of
logic. After that, in the 1970s he voluntarily sacrificed his social
standing by voicing a critical attitude to the political system of the
Soviet Union, and eventually facing exile in 1978 for having published
his novels The Yawning Heights and The Radiant Future. He continued to
develop his ideas about society and projected them in his writings, at
times employing his original genre of the sociological novel.
While there is no general agreement on Aleksandr Zinovyev’s political
views and their shift over time, he always asserted the need for a
logically consistent theory for the study of human society, that should
be devoid of ideology and vague clichés. He proposed his logical
sociology as a foundation for such a theory.
Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Zinovyev was born in the village of Pakhtino,
Chukhlomsky District, Kostroma Oblast as the sixth child to Aleksandr
Yakovlevich and Appolinariya Vasilyevna. A few years after Aleksandr’s
birth they moved to Moscow, seeking better quality of life.
Zinovyev excelled at school, and in 1939 he entered the Institute of
Philosophy, Literature and History of Moscow. He was soon expelled for a
critical attitude to forced collectivisation, and even was forbidden to
enter any other institute. He claims that he was arrested but then
managed to escape, and later involved in a plot to assassinate Joseph
Stalin during a school parade (the plan was called off). He joied the
Red Army in 1940 and took part in the Great Patriotic War as tankist and
fighter pilot, receiving many medals for a distinguished flight record.
Scientific work in Moscow
Zinovyev entered Moscow State University; he later told that his ban
from higher education was overlooked for a bribe — a box of sweets. He
graduated in 1951 summa cum laude with a thesis on logical structure of
Marx’ Das Kapital (the thesis was only published in Russia in 2002).
During the following decades he became one of the most important
logicians of the USSR.
Alexander Zinovyev wrote many articles and books on logic (especially
multivalued logic) and methodology of science and was often invited to
international conferences, yet the authorities never let him attend. As
professor and the chairman of Moscow State University Logic Department,
Zinovyev got the reputation of a pro-dissident since he refused to expel
dissident professors. In a gesture of protest against Brezhnev’s cult of
personality, he resigned from the editorial board of Voprosy Filosofii
(“Problems of Philosophy”), the leading journal on philosophy of the
The sociological novel
Various fictional, often satirical, stories he wrote about the Soviet
society agglomerated into his first major work of fiction, Yawning
Heights. After the release of the book in Switzerland in 1976, Zinovyev
was demoted from his lecturer’s position, evicted from the Academy of
Sciences, rescinded of all awards including his war medals, and finally
expelled from Soviet Union after his second novel of a similar satirical
style, The Radiant Future, was published in the West in 1978. He settled
in Munich where he lived until 1999.
Yawning Heights was the first in a series of Zinovyev’s fictional
works that are recognised to belong in the original genre that he has
called the sociological novel. Yawning Heights was a success, being soon
translated into most major European languages and read aloud in Russian
via Western radio broadcasts. Such novels describe fictional situations
with much focus on aspects that are socially significant. Characters,
who vary in their personal qualities and social positions, discuss their
life in the society, being allowed by the author to voice different
opinions on divers issues. Zinovyev admits that much misunderstanding of
his ideas arises from undue confusion of his point of view with those of
Sociological work in exile
Among Zinovyev’s non-fictional works from that time are Without
Illusions (1979), We and the West (1981), Communism as a Reality (1981),
Gorbachevism (1987). The latter was first published in French, 1987
(Lausanne, L'Âge d'homme). Without Illusions is a collection of essays,
lectures, and broadcasts by Zinovyev. He explained thereby his way of
interpretation of the Communist society, while expressing loyalty to the
scientific method. Zinovyev postulated that the Western powers had
underestimated the threat of Communism, especially the peaceful
infiltration of Communist traits into the Western society. He claimed
that Communism did not destroy and principally could not have destroyed
the social differences among the people, but had only changed the forms
of inequality. Zinovyev emphasised his view that the Soviet regime’s
peculiarities were not irrational in essence, nor result of some
incidental circumstances. Rather, he would assert, they followed from
“laws of society” and based on mainly rational and calculated decisions
of its participants. However, Zinovyev was one of the most outspoken
critics of the Soviet regime until the era of Perestroyka. Unlike
Solzhenitsyn, who sought a kind of revival of pre-1917 Russia, Zinovyev
dismissed the importance of the Russian Orthodox Church and of Russian
After the “Catastroika”
Zinovyev ceased to criticise Communism at the very dawn of Perestroika,
before the upsurge of crime and socio-economic problems that Russia
faced in the 1990s. He became sympathetic to some aspects of the Soviet
regime, and most radically condemned the reforms initiated by Boris
Yeltsin. He argues that the West was the key influence in the Union's
downfall: “Headed by the United States (a global supersociety located in
the USA), the West has purposely implemented a program for destroying
Russia”. In 1996, he appealed to the public to support Gennady Zyuganov,
a Communist candidate who eventually lost the presidential election to
Yeltsin. According to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Zinovyev spoke of
collectivisation in the USSR as of a “long-awaited gift to the Russian
Return to Russia
After 21 years of exile, Aleksandr Zinovyev returned to Russia in 1999,
declaring that he could no longer live “in the camp of those who are
destroying my country and my people”. He approved of Yugoslavia’s
anti-Western leader Slobodan Milošević and visited him. Regarding Joseph
Stalin, Zinovyev declared: “I consider him one of the greatest persons
in the history of mankind. In the history of Russia he was, in my
opinion, even greater than Lenin. Until Stalin’s death I was
anti-Stalinist, but I always regarded him as an outstanding
In his online interview, Zinovyev maintained that all the accusations
brought against Milošević were mere slander; he also declared that he
admired Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladić, whom he regards as
significant and brave persons of the 20th century. Zinovyev was a
co-chairman of the International Committee to Defend Slobodan Milosevic.
Zinovyev was opposed to globalisation, which he likened to a “Third
World War”. He was also fervently critical of the United States’ role in
the world, regarding them as more dangerous to Russia than Nazi Germany.
Zinovyev was married three times and had several children. On May 10,
2006, Aleksandr Zinovyev died of brain cancer.
Study of the Western world’s society
In his later non-fictional works (and the sociological novel The Global
Humant Hill), Zinovyev analyses the post-Soviet and modern Western
social formations, arguing, among other things, that such concepts as
'democracy', 'capitalism', 'communism', 'free market', 'liberalism',
'society', 'totalitarianism' do not grasp the actual social phenomena of
the modern society.
Zinovyev repeatedly asserted the decline of significance of the
nation-state framework, and the recent (post-World War II) emergence of
a new phenomenon of what he calls a supersociety (Russian: ñâåðõîáùåñòâî).
The supersocial traits arise due to the exhaustion of the fundamental
“evolutionary limit” of the usual societies (like nation-states,
although with no implicit strict correspondence between the terms).
According to Zinovyev, both Communist and Western countries exhibited
similar tendencies of development, which he attributes to that new
supersociety. They include:
the complex supereconomy, which is de facto planned to a great
the powerful supergovernment of networks and cliques that is
non-democratic by nature;
yet, at the same time, the seemingly unreasonable growth of governmental
structures and institutions;
the corruption of some liberalist principles like that of separation of
the emergence of superhumans (with the two variations: homo sovieticus
in the USSR and the zapadoid (Russian: çàïàäîèä — literally, “Westoid”)
in the West) that have some new, important behavioural qualities
moulded by the changed social conditions.
see also: United Nations member states -