ESCAPE FROM THE FUTURE: The Incredible Adventures of a Young Russian by Vladimir Petrov

ESCAPE FROM THE FUTURE: The Incredible Adventures of a Young Russian

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At age nineteen Petrov, an apolitical student at a Leningrad technological university, capriciously fell afoul of the NKVD -- he had rebuffed the amorous advances of a lady agent -- in the wake of the Kirov affair, and received a six-year sentence in a labor camp. By a combination of affability and calculation he managed to preserve himself, but he emerged from the Kolyma Mines (the least oppressive camp in the USSR) a deep-grained anti-Communist. Returning to his home town after the outbreak of the war, Petrov chose to collaborate with the Nazis rather than serve in the Red Army, fleeing westward, in fear of retribution when the German occupation collapsed. By various machinations he managed to lead a small group of disaffected Russian refugees to safety in Allied-held Italy. Petrov's memoirs, first published twenty years ago as Cold War fodder, have now been reissued as a personal narrative deemed to be of historical interest. They do portray a topsy-turvy peace and war-time world where money and connections were all important, where dependence was ""humiliating,"" civility ""a sign of weakness,"" where brutality earned respect, and agile cat feet were an asset in survival. Petrov, never barbarous if an expert at maneuver who adhered to all the codes, is less than a sympathetic figure, but he has the honesty to tell it as it was.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1973
Publisher: Indiana Univ. Press