THE DEMONSTRATION IN PUSHKIN SQUARE by Pavel Litvinov

THE DEMONSTRATION IN PUSHKIN SQUARE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Here is a rare look at the spectacle of Soviet ""justice"" in action against dissent, featuring the curious but prescribed conspiracy by both defense and prosecution to avoid the simple truth of the matter: that, as it is unequivocally stated by Karel Van Het Reve in the introduction, ""the Soviet Union is a police state where no freedom of expression exists."" As Reve labors to explain, the book is a collection of documents and short commentaries relating to two trials of five men who demonstrated against new laws repressing dissent and against the arrests of four other men, who had helped compile a White Book on the case of Sinyavsky and Daniel, two dissident writers given harsh terms. Author Litvinov, grandson of Stalin's Foreign Minister, is presented as a former model citizen whose faith was first shaken by the Sinyavsky-Daniel trial. Since then he has joined the tiny ranks of open dissenters, making public a transcript of a warning visit by a KGB officer (included here), circulating this book of trial records, signing several protest documents, and participating in a Red Square demonstration against the invasion of Czechoslovakia, for which he is now spending five years in Siberia (his address is listed for those who want to send postcards). The documents themselves reveal a telling contrast between the dull didacticism with which the prosecution presses the rather sticky cases to their inevitable conclusions and the skill, wit and bravery with which the defenders utilize their limited maneuvering space.

Pub Date: Oct. 8th, 1969
Publisher: Gambit