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Yeltsin has gone mad

R.W. Davies: Boris Yeltsin and Medvedev, 9 August 2001

Midnight Diaries 
by Boris Yeltsin, translated by Catherine Fitzpatrick.
Phoenix, 409 pp., £8.99, April 2001, 0 7538 1134 0
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Post-Soviet Russia: A Journey through the Yeltsin Era 
by Roy Medvedev, translated by George Shriver.
Columbia, 394 pp., £24, November 2000, 0 231 10606 8
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Zagadka Putina 
by Roy Medvedev.
Prava cheloveka, 93 pp., $8, March 2000, 9785771201269
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... in 1990. The privatisation of industry which accompanied this decline is graphically described by Roy Medvedev. At first, vouchers were issued, which were supposed to give every citizen an equal share of state property. This merely led to the transfer of industry into the hands of its old managers. Yeltsin then launched the so-called ‘monetary ...

Andropov’s Turn

Philip Short, 19 May 1983

by Roy Medvedev, translated by Brian Pearce.
Blackwell, 292 pp., £9.50, November 1982, 0 631 12993 6
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Soviet Policy for the 1980s 
edited by Archie Brown and Michael Kaser.
Macmillan/St Antony’s College, Oxford, 282 pp., £20, December 1982, 0 333 33139 7
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... own children and to raise up, in Danton’s words, ‘tyrants worse than those they overthrew’. Roy Medvedev’s first book to be published in the West, Let history judge, was a brilliant and minutely-researched account of one such tyrant: Stalin. His latest, Khrushchev, is very different in both scope and subject. Yet it is a logical continuation of ...

Patriotic Work

M.F. Perutz, 27 September 1990

by Andrei Sakharov, translated by Richard Lourie.
Hutchinson, 776 pp., £19.99, July 1990, 0 09 174636 1
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... and terror in the midst of which he grew up left its mark on all the adults who lived through it. Roy Medvedev estimates that at least four to five hundred thousand people – above all, high officials – were shot and several million imprisoned. ‘The spiritual atmosphere of the USSR cannot be explained without harking back to this era,’ Sakharov ...

Long live Shevardnadze

Don Cook, 22 June 1989

by Andrei Gromyko, translated by Harold Shukman.
Hutchinson, 365 pp., £16.95, May 1989, 0 09 173808 3
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Kennan and the Art of Foreign Policy 
by Anders Stephanson.
Harvard, 424 pp., $35, April 1989, 0 674 50265 5
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... Party line. The proposal was accepted with enthusiasm. A few dissident Soviet historians like Roy Medvedev have, of course, for some time been challenging the official orthodoxy of Soviet history, in which the Kremlin never makes mistakes and always prevails against capitalist enemies. In the West, revisionist historians have frequently been in ...

After Andropov

John Barber, 19 April 1984

by Zhores Medvedev.
Blackwell, 227 pp., £7.50, June 1983, 0 631 13401 8
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Andropov in Power: From Komsomol to Kremlin 
by Jonathan Steele and Eric Abraham.
Martin Robertson, 216 pp., £9.95, November 1983, 0 85520 641 1
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Life in Russia 
by Michael Binyon.
Hamish Hamilton, 286 pp., £9.95, November 1983, 0 241 10982 5
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The Soviet Union after Brezhnev 
edited by Martin McCauley.
Heinemann, 160 pp., £14.50, November 1983, 0 8419 0918 0
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Yuri Andropov: A Secret Passage into the Kremlin 
by Vladimir Solovyov and Elena Klepikova, translated by Guy Daniels.
Robert Hale, 302 pp., £11.50, February 1984, 0 7090 1630 1
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... that ‘as a Soviet leader, Chernenko was impossible and even indecent.’ According to Zhores Medvedev, ‘Chernenko had no authority among the party leaders ... everyone knew that he would be no more than Brezhnev’s ghost.’ Martin McCauley predicted that Andropov would ‘wish to replace his defeated rival as soon as possible’ as head of the ...

Capability Bevin

George Walden, 2 February 1984

Ernest Bevin: Foreign Secretary 1945-1951 
by Alan Bullock.
Heinemann, 896 pp., £30, November 1983, 0 434 09452 8
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... Charter at San Francisco for the USSR, was in the habit of adding obscene comments (according to Roy Medvedev) against the names of those condemned to die in Stalin’s purges? Fortunately for us, Bevin seems to have approached the Russians without idealistic urges or evangelical zeal. In his hyper-empirical way, he was always ready to learn by ...

Days of Reckoning

Orlando Figes, 7 July 1988

Stalin: Man and Ruler 
by Robert McNeal.
Macmillan, 389 pp., £16.95, June 1988, 0 333 37351 0
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... society. * The former – notably, Robert Tucker, Adam Ulam and the Soviet dissident historian, Roy Medvedev – have followed the classic studies of Trotsky, Souvarine and Deutscher in stressing the way in which Stalin undid Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev and, finally, Bukharin, his rivals in the party leadership, by opportune changes of ideology and a ...

Great Internationalists

Rupert Cornwell, 2 February 1989

Philby: The Life and Views of the KGB Masterspy 
by Phillip Knightley.
Deutsch, 291 pp., £14.95, October 1988, 0 233 98360 0
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Mask of Treachery: The First Documented Dossier on Blunt, MI5 and Soviet Subversion 
by John Costello.
Collins, 761 pp., £18, November 1988, 0 00 217536 3
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A Divided Life: A Biography of Donald Maclean 
by Robert Cecil.
Bodley Head, 212 pp., £15, October 1988, 0 370 31129 9
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The Storm Birds: Soviet Post-War Defectors 
by Gordon Brook-Shepherd.
Weidenfeld, 303 pp., £14.95, November 1988, 0 297 79464 7
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... Soviet moles, including Gordievski, against their country; made friends with dissidents like Roy Medvedev who only now, under Gorbachev, have won acceptance; and shared their belief that the regime had to tell the truth about the horrors of the past. The sad thing is that he died two years before the man who might have confirmed his faith in the ...

Big Boss in Fast Cars

Neal Ascherson: In Brezhnev’s Room, 24 February 2022

Brezhnev: The Making of a Statesman 
by Susanne Schattenberg, translated by John Heath.
I.B. Tauris, 484 pp., £30, November 2021, 978 1 83860 638 1
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... the Order of Lenin at the end of the year. ‘What attracted so many people to Brezhnev,’ wrote Roy Medvedev, later a dissident who had no reason to like him, ‘was his softness, the lack of the usual hardness and cruelty associated with party bosses of the time, a kindness that sometimes also came at the expense of business.’ He detested the old ...
... back in the Kremlin, dissolved it by decree, he was not only breaking its own statutes, as Roy Medvedev pointed out, but yielding up his independence too. Savouring the repudiation they had forced, his enemies were not to be satisfied with it. Within a few hours, Russian television was showing footage from the Crimea hinting that he might himself ...

Pissing in the Snow

Steven Rose: Dissidents and Scientists, 18 July 2019

Freedom’s Laboratory: The Cold War Struggle for the Soul of Science 
by Audra J. Wolfe.
Johns Hopkins, 302 pp., £22, January 2019, 978 1 4214 2673 0
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... Prize.The courage of these dissidents was matched by their ingenuity. In 1969 the biologist Zhores Medvedev reopened an old wound by publishing an account of Lysenko’s rise and fall, first in samizdat and then in translation in the West. Medvedev was diagnosed as schizophrenic – on the grounds that he was interested in ...

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