Visual History of the World




From Prehistoric to Romanesque  Art
Gothic Art
Renaissance  Art
Baroque and Rococo Art
The Art of Asia
Neoclassicism, Romanticism  Art
Art Styles in 19th century
Art of the 20th century
Artists that Changed the World
Design and Posters
Classical Music
Literature and Philosophy

Visual History of the World
First Empires
The Ancient World
The Middle Ages
The Early Modern Period
The Modern Era
The World Wars and Interwar Period
The Contemporary World

Dictionary of Art and Artists


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 year 1969.
Space technology has made considerable progress as the search for new
possibilities of using space continues.



The Soviet Union and its Successor

SINCE 1945


see also: United Nations member states -
Russian Federation,
Ukraine,Belarus, Moldova,
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia,
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania,
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan


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 republics.


Soviet dissidents

see also:

Red Terror
Vladimir Lenin
The Great Famine-Genocide in Soviet Ukraine (Holodomor)
German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact
Great Purge
Iosif Stalin

Great Purge and Intelligentsia


Osip Mandelstam  (

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Osip Emilyevich Mandelstam (also spelled Mandelshtam) (Russian: ́ ́ ́) (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.
Mandelstam's 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: , 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: , Kamyen), to be reissued in 1916 in a greatly expanded format, but under the same title.

Nadezhda Mandelstam

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: , Shum vremeni; , Feodosiya - both 1925) and small-format prose (The Egyptian Stamp, Russian: , 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 arrested.

Georgy Chulkov, Mariya Petrovykh, Anna Akhmatova, Osip Mandelstam

Anna Akhmatova

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 Peters there are poplars, crows
theres a pale green dome there that glows,
dim in the sun-shrouded dust.
The field of heroes lingers in my thought,
Kulikovos 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 first arrest

NKVD photo after the second arrest



Stalin Epigram


, ,

, , ,
, , ,

, , ,

, :
, , , .



Stalin Epigram

translation by Darran Anderson

We live, not feeling the earth beneath us
At ten paces our words evaporate.
But when theres 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 bosses
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
like horseshoes
at the groin, the face, the eyes.

He rolls the liquidations on his tongue like berries
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 fulfilled:

"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 fully rehabilitated.



Anna Akhmatova 
(see also: ANNA AKHMATOVA)

(Encyclopaedia Britannica)

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 1989.

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.



Anna Akhmatova


see also: AKHMATOVA ANNA "Requiem"





Not under foreign skies
Nor under foreign wings protected -
I shared all this with my own people
There, where misfortune had abandoned us.



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.
[March 1940]



It happened like this when only the dead
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 you
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 streltsy (1)
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. I couldn't.
Not like this. Everything that has happened,
Cover it with a black cloth,
Then let the torches be removed. . .


Giggling, poking fun, everyone's darling,
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 screaming,
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.
[1939. Spring]


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
To it.

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.
[1943. Tashkent]



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 in rebellion
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

see also:
AKHMATOVA ANNA "Requiem", "Poems"




Soviet dissidents

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 joke.

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 post-Stalin era.



Soviet dissidents






Andrei Amalrik
Patriarch Ambrose of Georgia

Larisa Bogoraz
Yelena Bonner
Leonid Borodin
Vladimir Bougrine
Vladimir Bukovsky
Bulldozer Exhibition

Valery Chalidze
Lev Chernyi
Vyacheslav Chornovil
Chronicle of Current Events (samizdat)
Lydia Chukovskaya




Yuli Daniel
Vadim Delaunay
David Devdariani
Dina Kaminskaya
Dymshits-Kuznetsov hijacking affair

Alexander Esenin-Volpin
Eliyahu Essas

Benjamin Fain
Yuri Fedorov
Moysey Fishbein




Ilya Gabay
Yuri Galanskov
Alexander Galich
Zviad Gamsakhurdia
Alexander Ginzburg
Yevgenia Ginzburg
Natalya Gorbanevskaya
Gratitude Fund
Pyotr Grigorenko
Vasily Grossman

Oleksa Hirnyk
Mykola Horbal

Ihor Kalynets




Boris Kagarlitsky
Sofia Kalistratova
Vitaliy Kalynychenko
Ivan Kandyba
Ephraim Kholmyansky
Yuliy Kim
Lev Kopelev
Anatoly Koryagin
Merab Kostava
Sergei Kovalev
Zoya Krakhmalnikova
Eduard Kuznetsov
Anatoly Kuznetsov

Yaroslav Lesiv
Eduard Limonov
Pavel Litvinov
Levko Lukyanenko

Michail J. Makarenko
Guram Mamulia
Nadezhda Mandelstam
Anatoly Marchenko
Zhores Medvedev
Yosef Mendelevitch
Moscow Helsinki Group
Viktor Muravin
Myroslav Marynovych




Lev Navrozov
Viktor Nekipelov
Alexander Nekrich
Valeriya Novodvorskaya

Yuri Orlov

Paruyr Hayrikyan
Yekaterina Peshkova
Leonid Plyushch
Alexandr Podrabinek




Irina Ratushinskaya
Maria Rozanova
Mykola Rudenko

Andrei Sakharov
Dmitri Savitski
Shmuel Schneurson
Efraim Sevela
Varlam Shalamov
Vladimir Shelkov
Andrei Sinyavsky
Victor Sokolov
Sergei Soldatov
Vasyl Stus
Vasyl Symonenko

Les Tanyuk
Alexander Tarasov
Valery Tarsis
Enn Tarto




Valeriy Marchenko
Georgy Vins
Georgi Vladimov
Vladimir Voinovich
Michael Voslenski

Gleb Yakunin

Aleksandr Zinovyev
Yosyf Zisels



Andrei Amalrik

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Andrei Amalrik.

Andrei Alekseevich Amalrik (Russian: ; 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.

Early life
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 in it."

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 Moscow University.

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 television reporter.

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.[6]. Correct was his argument that: 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.

US reaction
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 reaction
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.'"

Post-USSR views
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[3] 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 regulations.

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.[2]

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.


Larisa Bogoraz

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

L. Bogoraz

Larisa Iosifovna Bogoraz (full name: Larisa Iosifovna Bogoraz-Brukhman (Bogoraz was her father's last name, Brukhman her mother's), Russian language: -; 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


Yelena Bonner

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

30 Yelena Bonner (left), A.Sakharov in Moscow, 1977

Yelena Georgevna Bonner (Russian: ) (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 officer.

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 eventually divorced.

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. Sakharovs 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 University.

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 rights.

She is a recipient of many international human rights awards, including the Rafto Prize[4], the European Parliaments Robert Schumann medal, the awards of International Humanist and Ethical Union, the World Womens 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.



Joseph Brodsky

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Iosif Aleksandrovich Brodsky (Russian: ́ ́ ́) (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.

Early years
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 general?
Brodsky: I am a poet and a literary translator.
Judge: Who recognizes you as a poet? Who enrolled you in the ranks of poets?
Brodsky: No one. Who enrolled me in the ranks of humankind?
Judge: Did you study this?
Brodsky: This?
Judge: How to become a poet. You did not even try to finish high school where they prepare, where they teach?
Brodsky: I didnt 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 writingparticularly his essays such as Less Than Onedabbled in existentialist philosophy.

Personal life
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


Vladimir Bukovsky

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

V.Bukovsky, 2007

Vladimir Konstantinovich Bukovsky (Russian: ́ ́ ́; 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 prisons.

Early life
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[1] in order to help other dissidents to fight abuses of the authorities.

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 authorities.

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 sites

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 ( ). 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 Paris.

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 European Union.

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 appeals.

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.


Bulldozer Exhibition

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 exhibition.

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 () 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 ..." (" ! ...").

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: ) 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 were published.

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.


Lydia Chukovskaya

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tea party in the Sakharov kitchen:
Andrei Sakharov, Ruth Bonner,
and Lydia Chukovskaya, 1976.

Lydia Korneievna Chukovskaya (Russian: ) (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.

Early life
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 fathers 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 fathers 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 Chukovskayas works as Chukovskaya explicitly forbade any publications of her fiction in the Soviet Union before an official publication of Sofia Petrovna


Yuli Daniel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Yuli Markovich Daniel (Russian: ; 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 ( ) and Yu. Petrov (.).

Early life and World War II
Yuli Daniel was born in Moscow into the family of Yiddish playwright M. Daniel (Mark Meyerovich, Russian: ), who took the pseudonym Daniel. The famous march song of the Soviet young pioneers, "" (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 rule."[1]

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.



Vadim Delaunay

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Vadim Delaunay

Vadim Nikolaevich Delaunay (or Delone, Russian: ; 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.

Political activism
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 " " ("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 Siberia.[3]

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, (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: , or -) (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 "", 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 followed.

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 Vins.

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 "" (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 protest".

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".


Alexander Esenin-Volpin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alexander Sergeyevich Esenin-Volpin

Alexander Sergeyevich Esenin-Volpin (Russian: -) 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 (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 " " (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: " " (We demand an open trial for Sinyavski and Daniel) and " " (Respect the Soviet constitution). The demonstrators were promptly arrested.

In 1968 he circulated his famous " , " (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 dissident movement.


Eliyahu Essas

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rabbi Eliyahu Essas

Rabbi Eliyahu Essas (Russian: ; 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.

Recent activity
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


Yuri Galanskov

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Yuri Timofeyevich Galanskov Russian: (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.

Early publications
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. Galanskovs 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 Galanskov himself.

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 Khrushchevs 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.

Final Work
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 Mordovia.

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."[


Alexander Galich

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alexander Galich

Alexander Galich (Russian: ́ ́ ́, 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 Rehearsal).

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 Orthodox Church.

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 was founded.

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).


Pyotr Grigorenko

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

P. Grigorenko and Sofia Kalistratova, 1977

Petro Grigorenko or Petro Hryhorovych Hryhorenko or Pyotr Grigoryevich Grigorenko (Ukrainian: , Russian: ϸ ; 1907-1987) was a high-ranked Soviet Army commander of Ukrainian descent, later a prominent Soviet human rights activist, dissident and writer.

Early biography
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 Major General.

Dissident activities
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 retirement benefits.

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 Suvorov.

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[3].

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 and Olga.


Vasily Grossman

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: , Ukrainian: ), 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 ( ), 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.

War reporter
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 ( )) 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 ( ), 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 1943of what later became known as the Holocaust. His article The Hell of Treblinka[1] 1944) was disseminated at the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal as evidence for the prosecution.

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 ( , 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 ( , 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 1989.

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 monumental prose.


Lev Kopelev

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Lev Kopelev

Lev Zalmanovich Kopelev (also Lev Zinovevich Kopelev; Russian: ́ ́ or ́ ́, German spelling Lew Kopelew: April 9, 1912 June 18, 1997) was a Jewish author and a dissident.

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 USSR).

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 PhD.

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 19571969 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 psikhushka.

Kopelev's books were distributed via samizdat and were published in the West.

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 Wuppertal.

Kopelev was an honorary Ph.D. at the University of Cologne and a winner of many international awards. In 1990 Gorbachev restored his Soviet citizenship.

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.


Eduard Kuznetsov

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Eduard Kuznetsov

Eduard Kuznetsov (Russian language: ; 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 samizdat.

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."[1] 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.[1] Kuznetsov then emigrated to Israel. "From 1983 to 1990 he was chief of the news department of "Radio Liberty"."[1] 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 author.[1]

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.


Anatoly Kuznetsov

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Anatoly Kuznetsov, mid-1960s

Anatoly Vasilievich Kuznetsov (Russian: ; August 18, 1929, KievJune 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 couldnt publish it: the censors wouldnt 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 forms 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 confessional prose.

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[2], 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 didnt shoot children but buried them alive, and didnt 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 and fields."

A shortened version of the novel was republished in 1967 in Russian by "Moloda Gvardiya" publishing house in shortened form without the authors permission.

After defection
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 manuscript.

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 Floyds 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.


Pavel Litvinov

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Pavel Litvinov during
 his exile to Siberia

Pavel Litvinov (Russian: , 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 movement.

Pavel Litvinov is a son-in-law of the dissident and literary scholar Lev Kopelev.


Nadezhda Mandelstam

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Nadezhda Mandelstam

Nadezhda Yakovlevna Mandelstam (Russian: , 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 'hope'.

In 1979 she gave her archives to Princeton University. Nadezhda Mandelstam died in 1980 in Moscow, aged 81.



Mandelstam and Achmatova


Anatoly Marchenko

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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 conscience."

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.

Detailed biography
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 continue.

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 Czechoslovakia.

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 August 1971.

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 married.

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 previous summer.

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 day before.

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: ) 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" ( , "") 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; , , , , , 1979; , : , 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. ([1]) Vladimir Slepak and Ida Nudel were convicted of all charges. They served 5 and 4 years in Siberian exile. ([2], [3])

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 Simonov.


Alexander Nekrich

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Aleksandr Moiseyevich Nekrich

Aleksandr Moiseyevich Nekrich (Russian: ) (19201993) 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 Stalins 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 institutes 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

Encyclopaedia Britannica

Andrey 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 Tamms group and, with his colleagues Vitaly Ginzburg and Yuri Romanov, worked on calculations produced by Yakov Zeldovichs 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 schemeanalogous to American physicist Edward Tellers Alarm Clock designwas 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 of energy.

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. Khrushchevs 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,

Sakharovs 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 Mans 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. Sakharovs 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 husbands 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 Sakharovs 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 Peoples 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



Varlam Shalamov

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Varlam Shalamov

Varlam Tikhonovich Shalamov (Russian: ́ ́ ́; June 18, 1907January 17, 1982), baptized as Varlaam, was a Russian writer, journalist, poet and Gulag survivor.

Early life
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.

First arrest
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 Austino" (1936).

Second arrest
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.

After release
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 supply agent.

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 pension.

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 Federation.

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 ( ) 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 camp.

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.


Andrei Sinyavsky

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Andrei Sinyavsky

Andrei Donatovich Sinyavsky (Russian language: ) (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 (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 rule."

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, near Paris.

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."




Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn


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 manual laborer.


"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, 1974)
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 ones 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.



Georgi Vladimov

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Georgi Vladimov

Georgi Nikolaevich Vladimov (Volosevich) (February 19 1931 Kharkiv, Ukraine - October 19 2003 Frankfurt, Germany) was a Russian dissident writer.

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.


Vladimir Voinovich

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Vladimir Voinovich

Vladimir Nikolayevich Voinovich (alternatively spelled Voynovich, Russian: , 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 "). 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 Radio Liberty.

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 work
His magnum opus The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin (" ") 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.


Aleksandr Zinovyev

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Aleksandr Zinovyev

Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Zinovyev (Russian: ́ ́ ́; 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 professors 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 Zinovyevs 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 Aleksandrs 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 Brezhnevs cult of personality, he resigned from the editorial board of Voprosy Filosofii (Problems of Philosophy), the leading journal on philosophy of the time.

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 lecturers 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 Zinovyevs 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 his characters.

Sociological work in exile
Among Zinovyevs 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 regimes 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 nationalism.

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 peasantry.

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 Yugoslavias 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 Stalins death I was anti-Stalinist, but I always regarded him as an outstanding personality.

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 worlds 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: ). 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 degree;
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 powers;
the emergence of superhumans (with the two variations: homo sovieticus in the USSR and the zapadoid (Russian: literally, Westoid) in the West)[8] that have some new, important behavioural qualities moulded by the changed social conditions.


see also: United Nations member states -
Russian Federation,
Ukraine,Belarus, Moldova,
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia,
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania,
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan



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