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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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... in intrigues’. 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 ZhoresMedvedev, ‘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 ...


John Barber

29 October 1987
Socialism, Peace and Democracy: Writings, Speeches and Reports 
by Mikhail Gorbachev.
Zwan, 210 pp., £14.95, October 1987, 1 85305 011 3
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by Zhores Medvedev.
Blackwell, 314 pp., £5.95, May 1987, 0 631 15880 4
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The Sixth Continent: Russia and Mikhail Gorbachov 
by Mark Frankland.
Hamish Hamilton, 292 pp., £12.95, June 1987, 0 241 12122 1
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Shadows and Whispers: Power Politics inside the Kremlin from Brezhnev to Gorbachev 
by Dusko Doder.
Harrap, 349 pp., £12.95, July 1987, 0 245 54577 8
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Pravda: Inside the Soviet News Machine 
by Angus Roxburgh.
Gollancz, 285 pp., £16.95, May 1987, 0 575 03734 2
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Utopia in Power: A History of the USSR from 1917 to the Present 
by Michel Heller and Aleksandr Nekrich.
Hutchinson, 877 pp., £25, August 1987, 0 09 155620 1
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... or academic specialist to digest: the situation is changing so quickly that judgments are liable to be soon undermined or made obsolete, as the books under review in varying degrees demonstrate. ZhoresMedvedev provides the sharpest political analysis of Gorbachev’s rise to power. His book is indispensable for anyone wishing to understand the background from which has emerged the most original ...

The Project

Robert Conquest

22 December 1994
Stalin and the Bomb 
by David Holloway.
Yale, 464 pp., £19.95, September 1994, 0 300 06056 4
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... with the aid of a mass of slave labour, and safety precautions were minimal. Holloway details copious secret documentary evidence about the proto-Chernobyl catastrophe near Chelyabinsk in 1947. ZhoresMedvedev has lately told us more in the Times Higher Education Supplement among other places, though the total number of fatalities among the eighty thousand-odd forced labourers, and the ...
19 June 1986
Gorbachev: The Path to Power 
by Christian Schmidt-Häuer.
Tauris, 218 pp., £12.95, March 1986, 1 85043 015 2
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by Zhores Medvedev.
Blackwell, 272 pp., £15, March 1986, 0 631 14782 9
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The Soviet Union: The Incomplete Super-Power 
by Paul Dibb.
Macmillan, 320 pp., £27.50, February 1986, 0 333 36281 0
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... for him may prove conditional; to that extent, he may be dependent on them. This is not an inference spelt out by Schmidt-Häuer, but it is not inconsistent with the story he tells. Inevitably, ZhoresMedvedev’s biography covers much of the same ground as Schmidt-Häuer’s and draws on much of the same published material. He has the benefit of deep personal knowledge of Soviet history, the ...

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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... eventually 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 ZhoresMedvedev 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 ...

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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... 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. 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 ...

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