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19 December 1985
by Viktor Suvorov, translated by David Floyd.
Hamish Hamilton, 249 pp., £10.95, June 1985, 0 241 11545 0
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Breaking with Moscow 
by Arkady Shevchenko.
Cape, 278 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 0 224 02804 9
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Rethinking the Soviet Experience: Politics and History since 1917 
by Stephen Cohen.
Oxford, 222 pp., £15, May 1985, 0 19 503468 6
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Rise and Fall 
by Milovan Djilas.
Macmillan, 424 pp., £14.95, September 1985, 0 333 39791 6
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Tito’s Flawed Legacy: Yugoslavia and the West 1939-1984 
by Nora Beloff.
Gollancz, 287 pp., £12.95, July 1985, 0 575 03668 0
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... the KGB has no right to put questions to you ... or to undertake any action against you.’ The nomenklatura is the privileged caste created by Communist societies. ‘Suvorov’, Shevchenko and Djilas all belonged to it – indeed its existence was first exposed to the world by the publication of Djilas’s New Class in 1956. The fullest account of the phenomenon in the Soviet Union is contained ...

Little Old Grandfather

Thomas Meaney: Djilas​ and Stalin

18 May 2016
Conversations with Stalin 
by Milovan Djilas, translated by Michael Petrovich.
Penguin, 160 pp., £9.99, January 2014, 978 0 14 139309 4
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... MilovanDjilas was second only to Tito in the communist hierarchy of postwar Yugoslavia. In the war years, he had gained a reputation as a warrior-intellectual who could think dialectically under machine-gun fire ...
5 June 1980
Moscow Diary 
by Veljko Micunovic, translated by David Floyd.
Chatto, 474 pp., £12.95, April 1980, 0 7011 2469 5
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... is often formulated by aging exponents of a former orthodoxy is not wholly eradicated by the considerable success of the policy in practice. Yugoslavia’s finest writer, the former Party hard-liner MilovanDjilas, though free to attend and talk at dinner parties in Belgrade, is still an official unperson, and the present reviewer has seen even him draw a small old revolver from his desk and stroke it ...

Bad Habits

Basil Davidson

27 June 1991
The Repatriations from Austria: The Report of an Inquiry 
by Anthony Cowgill, Lord Brimelow and Christopher Booker.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 367 pp., £19.95, October 1990, 1 85619 029 3
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Cossacks in the German Army 1941-1945 
by Samuel Newland.
Cass, 218 pp., £30, March 1991, 0 7146 3351 8
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Eyewitnesses at Nuremberg 
by Hilary Gaskin.
Arms and Armour, 192 pp., £14.95, November 1990, 1 85409 058 5
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... is required. But those 26,000 Yugoslavs shot down by Partisans? Perhaps the final words on this horror, which nothing has excused or ever will, were written years later by the former Partisan leader, MilovanDjilas, then Tito’s right-hand man. ‘All were killed, except for women and young people under 18 years of age’ (but do we believe the exception?), he wrote in 1976, in mass shootings that were ...
28 June 1990
Struggle for the Balkans 
by Svetozar Vukmanovic, translated by Charles Bartlett.
Merlin, 356 pp., £18.50, January 1990, 0 85036 347 0
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... record of his attempt in 1943 to form an inter-Balkan liaison headquarters for all the various national resistance movements in the southern theatre, a project finally knocked on the head by Tito and MilovanDjilas. They did this because they suspected, as Djilas tells in Wartime, a possible northward insertion of British influence. The British, as it happened, opposed the same project for precisely the ...

Under the Ustasha

Mark Mazower: Sarajevo, 1941-45

6 October 2011
Sarajevo, 1941-45: Muslims, Christians and Jews in Hitler’s Europe 
by Emily Greble.
Cornell, 276 pp., £21.50, February 2011, 978 0 8014 4921 5
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... war years are absent here. The old stories told of the feats of the Titoists, or aired the grumbles of exiled royalists. The Partisans were the heroes of accounts by former fighters like MilovanDjilas or Vladimir Dedijer, or else they were demonised by the royalists. As Djilas admitted in his own brilliant memoir, the struggle was always portrayed as between the forces of light and dark. Where ...

A Poke of Sweeties

Andrew O’Hagan: Neal Ascherson’s Magnificent Novel

30 November 2017
The Death of the ‘Fronsac’ 
by Neal Ascherson.
Apollo, 393 pp., £18.99, August 2017, 978 1 78669 437 9
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... never have been noted in the Cabinet War Rooms. It is a European novel of distinctive tensions, quite new to Scottish fiction, a pas de deux of the intensely local and the deeply international, as if MilovanDjilas had met Catherine Carswell at a works dance. At first we fear that Johnston Melville died on the Fronsac. Then we fear he didn’t. Initially we believe the British story that it was not ...

Jade and Plastic

Andrew Nathan: How bad was Mao?

17 November 2005
Mao: The Unknown Story 
by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday.
Cape, 814 pp., £25, June 2005, 0 224 07126 2
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... project since at least 1986, to judge by the date of the earliest interview cited, which – and this is typical of the access they gained to many highly-placed and interesting people – was with MilovanDjilas. They have visited remote battle sites of the Long March, Mao’s cave in Yan’an, ‘over two dozen’ of Mao’s secret private villas around the country, the Russian presidential and ...


John Connelly: Stalin’s Infantry

22 June 2006
Ivan’s War: The Red Army 1939-45 
by Catherine Merridale.
Faber, 396 pp., £20, October 2005, 0 571 21808 3
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A Writer at War: Vasily Grossman with the Red Army 1941-45 
edited and translated by Antony Beevor and Luba Vinogradova.
Harvill, 378 pp., £20, September 2005, 9781843430551
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... from Russia to form a government didn’t dare allude to the crimes perpetrated on German women. Even non-German Communists who spoke up were unceremoniously rebuffed: when the Yugoslav leader MilovanDjilas attempted to intercede with Stalin in 1944 on behalf of Serbian women, the Soviet leader retorted: ‘Can’t he understand it if a soldier who has crossed thousands of kilometres through ...
11 July 1991
Moscow and Beyond: 1986-1989 
by Andrei Sakharov.
Hutchinson, 168 pp., £14.99, April 1991, 0 09 174972 7
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Fatal Half-Measures: The Allure of Democracy in the Soviet Union 
by Yevgeny Yevtushenko, edited and translated by Antonia Bovis.
Little, Brown, 357 pp., £12.95, May 1991, 0 316 96883 8
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... for a scattered, uncelebrated protest in Pushkin Square; Sinyavsky and Daniel were standing trial; and Vladimir Bukovsky, having served over a year in a psychiatric hospital for possessing a copy of MilovanDjilas’s The New Class, was about to go to the camps for protesting against the arrest of Alexander Ginsburg. Yevtushenko is much concerned with his reputation, but that he should be so admiring of ...

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