THE RUSSIANS by Leonid Vladimirov


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Soviet dissent, even at fantastic costs, seems unquashable (vide, On Trial, The Master and Margarita, Yevtushenko, and the new Chornovil Papers, p. 668). Here an ex-Soviet journalist, who sought and received political asylum in Britain in 1966, decries the ""psychological prison"" the Party has made of Russia. His book is a collection of informal causeries which caustically survey Russian institutions. There is a day at a factory, an account of skirmishes with the censor, details of prices and pay (eggs cost $1.50 a dozen, bread 8¢ a pound), and generally, a very readable assay of most aspects of life in the Soviet Union. The author draws on his own experience--as tractor driver, factory foreman, Moscow journalist (who wrote on science and for Pravda and Izvestia), member of the cognoscenti, and Stalinist prisoner. When Vladimirov escaped, he was at the height of his journalistic career and had been permitted to take the trip to London. He left, he says, ""to write as I please."" Indeed, he does. But the trouble with Vladimirov's book is that he was a first-class Soviet journalist: i.e., a master of the slanted story. Here he propagandizes in reverse.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1968
Publisher: Praeger