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John Bayley, 7 August 1986

No, I’m not afraid 
by Irina Ratushinskaya, translated by David McDuff.
Bloodaxe, 142 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 906427 95 9
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Shcharansky: Hero of Our Time 
by Martin Gilbert.
Macmillan, 467 pp., £14.95, April 1986, 0 333 39504 2
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The Russian Orthodox Church: A Contemporary History 
by Jane Ellis.
Croom Helm, 531 pp., £27.50, April 1986, 0 7099 1567 5
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... take measures to protect the patients. The bosses have got nothing against X and Y personally – Ratushinskaya and Shcharansky in this case – but getting rid of them will make things normal and comfortable again. All this has a familiar ring to it, not only a Biblical one. Elitism, so-called, is unpopular in the socialist society, a smear word to be used ...

White Nights

Penelope Fitzgerald, 11 October 1990

In the beginning 
by Irina Ratushinskaya, translated by Alyona Kojevnikov.
Hodder, 320 pp., £14.95, March 1990, 9780340416983
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Goodnight 
by Abram Tertz (Andrei Sinyavsky), translated and introduced by Richard Lourie.
Viking, 364 pp., £14.99, April 1990, 0 670 80165 8
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Comrade Princess: Memoirs of an Aristocrat in Modern Russia 
by Ekaterina Meshcherskaya.
Doubleday, 228 pp., £12.95, February 1990, 0 385 26910 2
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... Irina Ratushinskaya was 28 when she was arrested on her way to work on an apple farm and sent to the Small Zone section of a Mordavian labour camp. She was imprisoned on account of her poetry (or rather, the ‘creation and dissemination of anti-Soviet materials in poetic form’), and was released on account of it ...

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