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Michael Glenny

Michael Glenny has translated Dostoevsky, Bulgakov, Solzhenitsyn and others. He is now working on a book about emigration from Russia since 1917.

Bitov’s Secrets

Michael Glenny, 18 October 1984

The only really mystifying feature of the Oleg Bitov episode is why such a fuss was made of him. He was not, in Western terms, a big fish at all – except perhaps in his own eyes. If anything, he was something of an embarrassment to the British and Soviet Intelligence services, both of whom, however, attempted in their own ways to extract what political value they could from his defection and his return to the USSR a year later. Those Westerners with a professional interest in the episode – security, Sovietology, journalism, broadcasting – appear to have come to the conclusion that it is scarcely worth the trouble to disentangle the truth from the web of lies around Bitov, because his escapade is of little real significance.

Thousands of Cans and Cartons

Christopher Hitchens, 24 May 1990

Several years ago, Tariq Ali published an exquisite interview with a disillusioned veteran of the Indian Communist Party. This old comrade had been invited to Moscow by Khrushchev, and wanted a...

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Living like a moth

Michael Ignatieff, 19 April 1990

I have always wondered when my grandparents realised they would never see Russia again. In July 1917, when they locked up the house on Fourstatskaya Street in Petrograd, left the key with my...

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Sasha, Stalin and the Gorbachovshchina

T.J. Binyon, 15 September 1988

On returning from Munich to St Petersburg in the spring of 1837, the poet Tyutchev, as well known for his wit as for his verse, told a friend that he was suffering not so much from Heimweh as

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Wormwood

Walter Patterson, 29 October 1987

Is the Chernobyl doorstop on its way? Surely it must be. I refer to the 1200-page, three-kilogram blockbuster which looms at you from airport bookstalls all over the reading world. Imagine the...

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Red Stars

John Sutherland, 6 December 1984

Yevtushenko’s face, more cadaverous by the year, stares morosely from the flap of Wild Berries. The camera has evidently caught him thinking of his native Taiga, the Siberian tundra which...

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Punishment

Dan Jacobson, 15 September 1983

Three autobiographical books by three Soviet dissidents who are as unlike one another in character, background and way of life as it is possible to be. The first of the authors is a solemn,...

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