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Howling Soviet Monsters

Tony Wood: Vladimir Sorokin, 30 June 2011

The Ice Trilogy 
by Vladimir Sorokin, translated by Jamey Gambrell.
NYRB, 694 pp., £12.99, April 2011, 978 1 59017 386 2
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Day of the Oprichnik 
by Vladimir Sorokin.
Farrar, Straus, 191 pp., $23, March 2011, 978 0 374 13475 4
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... In Vladimir Sorokin’s novel The Queue, one of the protagonists is struggling with a crossword: ‘1 Across – Russian Soviet writer.’ Suggestions come from people next to him in the long line that is the book’s setting and subject – Sholokhov, Mayakovsky? – but are rejected, because neither fits both adjectives at the same time ...

Sasha, Stalin and the Gorbachovshchina

T.J. Binyon, 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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by Natalya Lowndes.
Hodder, 384 pp., £12.95, January 1988, 0 340 41060 4
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... public statement which would have been expected from the other novel. Stichomythia run wild, Vladimir Sorokin’s The Queue consists solely of one-line exchanges between members of a queue – the longest in Moscow – which, some two thousand strong, winds its way up and down the alleys and streets of a suburban district in pursuit of some ...


James Meek: Real Murderers!, 8 October 2015

... without standing out from a family resemblance to Tarkovsky and Zvyagantsev. The screenplay by Vladimir Sorokin, however, is a dark pleasure: surreal, satirical and embedded in the specifics of Russian history and culture. Sorokin, whose portrayal of a near-future Moscow as a modern version of Ivan the Terrible’s ...

Aphrodite bends over Stalin

John Lloyd, 4 April 1996

... of employment, designed in part to cut the huge cost of the theatrical army. The business manager, Vladimir Kokonin, defeated him in a fashion unthinkable in Soviet times. ‘People are going to have to start justifying their salaries,’ Kokonin announced. ‘We don’t want time-serving civil service types.’ Grigorovich has gone with dignity: not so Oleg ...

Proud to Suffer

G.S. Smith: The Intellectuals Who Left the USSR, 19 October 2006

The Philosophy Steamer: Lenin and the Exile of the Intelligentsia 
by Lesley Chamberlain.
Atlantic, 414 pp., £25, March 2006, 1 84354 040 1
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... how is one to compare the loss to Russia of, say, Stravinsky with that of the electronics engineer Vladimir Zvorykin or the aircraft designer Igor Sikorsky? As the book proceeds, figures who left Russia by other routes before and sometimes after the 1922 expulsions are considered: they include Isaiah Berlin, Roman Jakobson and Pitirim ...

Russia’s Managed Democracy

Perry Anderson: Why Putin?, 25 January 2007

... major assets in a racket – so-called loans for shares – devised by one of its beneficiaries, Vladimir Potanin, and imposed by Chubais, operating as the neo-liberal Rasputin at Yeltsin’s court. The president and his extended ‘Family’ (relatives, aides, hangers-on) naturally took their own share of the loot. It is doubtful whether the upshot had any ...

One Exceptional Figure Stood Out

Perry Anderson: Dmitri Furman, 30 July 2015

... Vernadsky, Postan; in economics, Leontief and Domar; in anthropology, Shirokogorov; in sociology, Sorokin; in philosophy, Koyré and Kojève. Other names could be added. Once Stalin was gone, dissidents within Russia revived the 19th-century tradition of the intelligent as outspoken critic of the established order. Solzhenitsyn, Bukovsky and others attacked ...

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