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24 May 1990
Against the Grain: An Autobiography 
by Boris Yeltsin, translated by Michael Glenny.
Cape, 215 pp., £12.95, March 1990, 0 224 02749 2
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... of Truth’ or ‘A Call to Vision’. Here, in the excellent vernacular translation supplied by Michael Glenny, we have its lumbering Soviet emulation. (‘Against the grain’, with its variant ‘against the current’, is usually employed by New York intellectuals when they come to write up a long odyssey of what they consider to be the independent ...

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 ...

Wormwood

Walter Patterson

29 October 1987
Sarcophagus 
by Vladimir Gubaryev, translated by Michael Glenny.
Penguin, 81 pp., £3.50, April 1987, 0 14 048214 8
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The Star Chernobyl 
by Julia Voznesenskaya.
Quartet, 181 pp., £10.95, August 1987, 0 7043 2631 0
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Chernobyl: A Novel 
by Frederick Pohl.
Bantam, 355 pp., £4.95, September 1987, 0 553 05210 1
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Mayday at Chernobyl 
by Henry Hamman and Stuart Parrott.
Hodder, 278 pp., £2.95, April 1987, 0 450 40858 2
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State of the World 1987: A Worldwatch Institute Report on Progress toward a Sustainable Society 
by Lester Brown.
Norton, 268 pp., £14.95, April 1987, 0 393 02399 0
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... the Institute of Radiation Safety. In the excellent colloquial translation of the play’s text by Michael Glenny, the short list of characters concludes with the laconic note: ‘The action takes place, unfortunately, in the present day.’ The play consists of two acts of three scenes each, and is conventional enough in style. It might be discounted as ...

Punishment

Dan Jacobson

15 September 1983
Final Judgment: My Life as a Soviet Defence Lawyer 
by Dina Kaminskaya, translated by Michael Glenny.
Harvill, 364 pp., £12.95, August 1983, 0 00 262811 2
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Memoirs 
by Petro Grigorenko, translated by Thomas Whitney.
Harvill, 462 pp., £15, April 1983, 0 00 272276 3
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Notes of a Revolutionary 
by Andrei Amalrik.
Weidenfeld, 343 pp., £12.50, July 1983, 0 297 77905 2
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... 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, Jewish lady-lawyer; the second an irascible Red Army general; the third (until his death recently in a car crash) was a contumacious bohemian of vagrant habits and wide-ranging intellectual interests ...

Living like a moth

Michael Ignatieff

19 April 1990
The Other Russia: The Experience of Exile 
by Michael Glenny and Norman Stone.
Faber, 475 pp., £14.99, March 1990, 0 571 13574 9
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Inferences on a Sabre 
by Claudio Magris, translated by Mark Thompson.
Polygon, 87 pp., £9.95, May 1990, 0 7486 6036 4
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... Atlantis of the European mind, as vivid beneath the waves as it was above them. Norman Stone and Michael Glenny’s book is a scrapbook of Atlantis, an oral history of survivors from the sinking. Many of them were in their eighties when Glenny’s tape-recorder finally reached them in their close, cluttered rooms and ...
15 September 1988
Children of the Arbat 
by Anatoli Rybakov, translated by Harold Shukman.
Hutchinson, 688 pp., £12.95, August 1988, 0 09 173742 7
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Pushkin House 
by Andrei Bitov, translated by Susan Brownsberger.
Weidenfeld, 371 pp., £12.95, May 1988, 0 297 79316 0
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The Queue 
by Vladimir Sorokin, translated by Sally Laird.
Readers International, 198 pp., £9.95, May 1988, 9780930523442
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Moscow 2042 
by Vladimir Voinovich, translated by Richard Lourie.
Cape, 424 pp., £11.95, April 1988, 0 224 02532 5
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The Mushroom-Picker 
by Zinovy Zinik, translated by Michael Glenny.
Heinemann, 282 pp., £11.95, January 1988, 0 434 89735 3
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Chekago 
by Natalya Lowndes.
Hodder, 384 pp., £12.95, January 1988, 0 340 41060 4
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... 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 Herausweh; and, a little later, hearing that D’Anthès, Pushkin’s opponent in the fatal duel earlier that year, had been sentenced for his part in the affair to perpetual banishment from Russia, seized the opportunity for a mot by announcing that he would immediately go off and kill Zhukovsky – then, after Pushkin, the most famous poet in Russia ...

Red Stars

John Sutherland

6 December 1984
Wild Berries 
by Yevgeny Yevtushenko, translated by Antonia Bovis.
Macmillan, 296 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 333 37559 9
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The Burn 
by Vassily Aksyonov, translated by Michael Glenny.
Hutchinson, 528 pp., £10.95, October 1984, 0 09 155580 9
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Fellow Travellers 
by T.C. Worsley.
Gay Men’s Press, 249 pp., £9.95, September 1984, 0 907040 51 9
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The Power of the Dog 
by Thomas Savage.
Chatto, 276 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 0 7011 3939 0
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The Fourth Protocol 
by Frederick Forsyth.
Hutchinson, 448 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 09 158630 5
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The Set-Up 
by Vladimir Volkoff, translated by Alan Sheridan.
Bodley Head, 397 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 370 30583 3
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... 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 forms the idyllic background to the novel. In fact, the background of Wild Berries, which is not the best ordered of narratives, rather usurps the foreground, and for much of its length the novel reads like over-the-top Intourist travel literature, aimed at rehabilitating a region associated in the foreign mind (at least) with exile, sub-zero temperatures and days in the life of Soviet dissidents ...
16 October 1997
The Master and Margarita 
by Mikhail Bulgakov, translated by Diana Burgin and Katherine Tiernan O’Connor.
Picador, 367 pp., £20, August 1997, 0 330 35133 8
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The Master and Margarita 
by Mikhail Bulgakov, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.
Penguin, 412 pp., £7.99, May 1997, 0 14 118014 5
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... us. Mirra Ginsburg’s version, still available from Grove Press, was first published in 1967. Michael Glenny’s version was also first published in 1967, by Harvill, and reappeared in 1992 as an Everyman book. Burgin and O’Connor’s version was first published in the US in 1995, and in the UK this year; and Pevear’s and Volokhonsky’s appears ...

Into the Wild

Misha Glenny: The Dark Net

19 March 2015
The Dark Net: Inside the Digital Underworld 
by Jamie Bartlett.
Heinemann, 303 pp., £20, August 2014, 978 0 434 02315 8
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... to arrest and prosecution. Bartlett describes the case of a pseudonymous British man called Michael, whom he interviewed for the book. In his fifties, happily married with a grown-up daughter, Michael protests, quite genuinely it seems, that he is ‘a very ordinary, heterosexual bloke. I was never ...

Only in the Balkans

Misha Glenny: The Balkans Imagined

29 April 1999
Inventing Ruritania: The Imperialism of the Imagination 
by Vesna Goldsworthy.
Yale, 254 pp., £19.95, May 1998, 0 300 07312 7
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Imagining the Balkans 
by Maria Todorova.
Oxford, 270 pp., £35, June 1997, 9780195087505
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... peasant who, having stumbled on political power, is unsure how to wield it. Reporting on Michael Portillo’s visit as defence minister to Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria and Macedonia in 1996, Anne Applebaum (coincidentally, for the Evening Standard) has a good old chuckle: Up and down the red carpets he walks, Her Majesty’s aircraft just behind ...

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