Involuntary Journey to Siberia

Newton Abbot: Readers Union, 1971. Readers Union Edition. Hardcover. Format is approximately 5.5 inches by 8.75 inches. 282, [6] pages. Footnotes. Boards have some wear, soiling and corner bumping. Some edge soiling. Foreword by Max Hayward. Author's Preface, Note about the Author. Andrei Alekseevich Amalrik (12 May 1938, Moscow – 12 November 1980), alternatively spelled Andrei or Andrey, was a Russian writer and dissident. Amalrik was best known in the Western world for his 1970 essay, Will the Soviet Union Survive Until 1984?. For several months after the publication of Will the Soviet Union Survive Until 1984? (1970) and Involuntary Journey to Siberia (August 1970), abroad, a criminal offense under Soviet law. Inevitably, for "defaming the Soviet state", Amalrik was arrested on May 21, 1970 and convicted on November 12, receiving a sentence of three years in a labor camp in Kolyma. At the end of his term, he was given three more years, but because of his poor health and protests from the West, the sentence was commuted after one year to exile in the same region. After serving a five-year term, he returned to Moscow in 1975. On September 13, 1975, Amalrik was arrested again. The police captain told his wife that he was arrested for not having permission to live in Moscow; he could have faced a fine or up to one year in prison for violating Soviet passport regulations. In early 1976, Amalrik and other dissidents conceived the idea of the Moscow Helsinki Group; it was formed in May 1976. The KGB gave Amalrik an ultimatum: to emigrate or face another sentence. In 1976 his family got visas to go to the Netherlands. Derived from a Kirkus review: Russian historian and playwright Andrei Amalrik's answer to Will the Soviet Union Survive Until 1984? was a gloomy nyet. With a Soviet state that is increasingly bureaucratized, isolated, and stagnant and an unstable society seething under the surface with national hatreds, with masses lacking in democratic instincts and middle-class democrats lacking in numbers, Amalrik foresees a decade-long scenario of disintegration and collapse. This earlier work, available in Russian but not in Russia, is less apocalyptic in its vision but offers some of the same criticisms of the Soviet state and society. It is a personal record of Amalrik's life in Moscow, where he was spied on by neighbors and harassed by police because of his associations with avant-garde artists and foreigners, and his exile to Siberia in 1965 on charges of "parasitism," a handy catchall for disposing of dissident intellectuals. Amalrik's spell in Siberia was short, but long enough for him to become totally disillusioned with collective farm life, the backwardness and inefficiency of agricultural methods and the apathy and passivity of the peasant population. A resolute nonconformist, Amalrik writes with remarkable frankness and detached humor about situations that he wouldn't have survived under Stalin. What gives Amalrik room for maneuver in his dealings with the Soviet authorities is the post-Stalin decline of the totalitarian structure, the desire of the government bureaucracy, including even the police, to give at least the appearance of observing Soviet law. In addition, Amalrik was able to play upon the interdepartmental rivalry between the relatively moderate ordinary police and the more highhanded secret police. A straightforward journal which does not omit "the boring details of which the life of a prisoner or exile mostly consist," it is nonetheless a fascinating view inside Russia. Condition: Good / No dust jacket present.

Keywords: Political Prisoner, Political Trial, Butyrki, Krasnaya Presnya, Sverdlovsk, Kolkhozniks, Guryevka, Slave Labor, Tomsk, Soviet Union, Dissidents

[Book #85087]

Price: $45.00

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