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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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... a capitalist economy, national income and industrial production had fallen to about half their levels in 1990. The privatisation of industry which accompanied this decline is graphically described by RoyMedvedev. 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 ...
19 May 1983
Khrushchev 
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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... 1794 is the same that Stalin unleashed in 1934. It is in the nature of revolutions to destroy their own children and to raise up, in Danton’s words, ‘tyrants worse than those they overthrew’. RoyMedvedev’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 ...
22 June 1989
Memoirs 
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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... historians, in order to improve the writing of Soviet history after so many years of toeing the Communist Party line. The proposal was accepted with enthusiasm. A few dissident Soviet historians like RoyMedvedev 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 ...

Patriotic Work

M.F. Perutz

27 September 1990
Memoirs 
by Andrei Sakharov, translated by Richard Lourie.
Hutchinson, 776 pp., £19.99, July 1990, 0 09 174636 1
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... of the Gods,’ a motto which his son admired, but confesses he found hard to follow. The cruelty and terror in the midst of which he grew up left its mark on all the adults who lived through it. RoyMedvedev 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 ...

After Andropov

John Barber

19 April 1984
Andropov 
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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... They attributed to Georgi Arbatov, a leading Politburo adviser on world affairs, the statement 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 ...

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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... reacted had he known that the hand that shook his own on many occasions, and signed the United Nations Charter at San Francisco for the USSR, was in the habit of adding obscene comments (according to RoyMedvedev) 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 ...

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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... of a broader series of social and institutional developments in the Party and its relations with civil society. * The former – notably, Robert Tucker, Adam Ulam and the Soviet dissident historian, RoyMedvedev – 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 ...
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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... drab totalitarianism. He opposed the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia, which did so much to turn future Soviet moles, including Gordievski, against their country; made friends with dissidents like RoyMedvedev 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 ...
26 September 1991
... Committee could not even be convoked because the opposition to the coup prevented a quorum. When Gorbachev, back in the Kremlin, dissolved it by decree, he was not only breaking its own statutes, as RoyMedvedev 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 ...

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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... exiled to the closed city of Gorky and forbidden to travel to Oslo to receive his Nobel Peace 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 ...

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