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Sophie Pinkham

Sophie Pinkham’s Black Square: Adventures in the Post-Soviet World came out last year.

Mayakovsky

Sophie Pinkham, 16 February 2017

When​ Vladimir Mayakovsky shot himself in 1930, some Soviet writers interpreted it as an act of protest: stifled by political censorship, he couldn’t go on. In the decades since, the suicide of the great poet of the Revolution has been seen as the Soviet Union’s point of no return. This is the view taken by the Swedish scholar Bengt Jangfeldt in this biography, the first...

Sergei Dovlatov

Sophie Pinkham, 20 May 2015

In​ 1983, Sergei Dovlatov told an interviewer that the literary situation in the Soviet Union was worse than ever. ‘If under Stalin talented writers were at first published, subsequently vilified in the press, and finally executed or destroyed in camps,’ he said, ‘it’s now the case that no one is executed, almost no one is put in prison – and no one is...

Gaito Gazdanov

Sophie Pinkham, 6 March 2014

In October 1920​, Gaito Gazdanov, then a young soldier, returned to his armoured train in the Crimea to find that it had been captured by the Red Army. He escaped in November by crossing the Black Sea to Constantinople with some of his fellow soldiers. He was one of more than 150,000 refugees – the sad remains of General Wrangel’s defeated White Army, along with any civilians...

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