SOVIET HISTORY LESSONS
SOVIET STUDIES BIOGRAPHICAL COMPANION
by Alissa Ordabai
Below is a list of biographies I wrote to serve as a reference for those who are new to the subject of the human rights movement in the USSR. I originally complied it in the spring of 2018 as a guide to publishers of Vladimir Bukovsky's book Judgement in Moscow. Ninth of November press initially asked for my help in footnoting the book, but as the project progressed, I ended up not only doing archive and library research, but also advising them on copyright issues and the current legal climate in Russia.
A few words about Judgement in Moscow. Based on thousands of top-secret documents Bukovsky copied in the Soviet Communist Party archives in the early 1990s, the book examines the links of the Soviet establishment to the Western press, political parties, and NGOs. It plumbs historical depths and provides answers to some of the key questions about today’s Russia: Its aggressive foreign policy, the KGB’s return to power, and the unraveling of the cold war rhetoric.
In Bukovsky’s analysis, humanity’s failure to prosecute the Soviet regime in a Nuremberg-style trial froze Russia in a repetitive loop of delusion and unaccountability. A neurophysiologist and an author of several international bestsellers, Bukovsky himself spent twelve years in Soviet confinement, and argues compellingly against the West’s policy of appeasement. The takeaway message is simple: Political inaction leads not only to worldwide legitimization of human rights abuses, but to the West’s own perilous frailty in the face of repressive regimes.
These biographical notes can be used not only as a companion to Bukovsky's book, but as a reference by anyone conducting research in the field of Soviet studies.
Akhmatova, Anna (b. Anna Gorenko, Odessa, Russian Empire, 23 June 1889 - d. Domodedovo, USSR, 5 March 1966), one of the most prominent Russian 20th century poets. Shortlisted for the Nobel Prize in 1965 and in 1966. Condemned Stalin’s purges in her poem cycle Requiem (1935-1940). Much of her work was destroyed during the revolution, the war, and political terror; the majority of what survived remained banned by the authorities and unpublished during her lifetime.
Allilueva, Svetlana (b. Svetlana Stalina, Leningrad, 28 February 1926 - d. Richland Center, WI, 22 November 2011), translator, writer, daughter of Joseph Stalin. Emigrated to the West in 1966, published several books of memoirs. Briefly returned to the Soviet Union in 1984 and left for the West again in 1986.
Amalrik, Andrei (Moscow, 12 May 1938 - Guadalajara, Spain, 12 November 1980), historian, polemicist, lecturer, one of the first human rights activists in the postwar USSR, author of “Will the Soviet Union Survive Until 1984?” Was expelled from Moscow University in 1963, imprisoned, exiled, and pressured to leave the Soviet Union in 1976. Killed in a car accident on the way to Madrid Conference of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
Amin, Hafizullah (Paghman, Afghanistan, 1 August 1929 - Kabul, 27 December 1979), Afghan communist politician during the cold war, one of the organizers of the Saur Revolution which overthrew the government of Mohammad Daoud Khan. Came to power by disposing of his predecessor Nur Muhammad Taraki and later ordering his death. Responsible for commanding thousands of executions. Was assassinated by the Soviets, having ruled for just over three months.
Andropov, Yuri (Nagutskaya Station, Russian Empire, 15 June 1914 - Moscow, 9 February 1984), Soviet head of state 1982-1984, head of KGB 1967-1982. Played key roles in the repression of the Hungarian Uprising, crushing the Prague Spring, abuse of psychiatry for political purposes, and invasion of Afghanistan. Put severe repressions on the dissident movement and political prisoners.
Arbatov, Georgy (Kherson, USSR, 19 May 1923 - Moscow, 1 October 2010), Soviet historian, consultant of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the USSR (1964-1967), deputy head of the Soviet Peace Committee, member of the Palme Committee.
Babayan, Eduard (Gyumri, Armenia, 31 August 1920 - 12 May 2009), Soviet and Russian medical doctor, one of the senior heads of the Serbsky Center for Forensic Psychiatry, head of the Committee on Narcotics Control at the Ministry of Health of Russian Federation, Vice President of the United Nation’s International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), an apologist for political use of psychiatry in the USSR.
Bahr, Egon (Treffurt, Germany, 18 March 1922 - Berlin, 19 August 2015), West German politician, member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), key figure in Ostpolitik — the foreign policy of easing strained relations between West Germany and the Eastern bloc in the 1960s.
Bakatin, Vadim (b. Kisilevsk, USSR, 6 November 1937), Soviet communist party functionary, Minister of Internal Affairs (1988-1990), the last head of the KGB (August-December 1991), insisted on retaining the old KGB cadres and proposed decentralization of the KGB before the collapse of the USSR.
Bogoraz-Bruchman, Larisa (Kharkiv, USSR, 8 August 1926 - Moscow, 6 April 2004), linguist, writer, human rights activist, organizer of the 1968 protest in Red Square against the invasion of Czechoslovakia, following which was sentenced to four years of exile in Siberia. Co-wrote an underground book, Memory, which detailed Stalin's terror and was published overseas. Contributed to the underground publication Chronicle of Current Events. In 1989 joined, and subsequently became chairwoman of, the newly re-founded Moscow Helsinki Group.
Borovik, Genrikh (b. Minsk, USSR, 16 November 1929), Soviet international affairs journalist, writer, senior APN correspondent in the US, the fourth chairman of the Soviet Peace Committee (1987-1991). According to a senior archivist of the USSR’s foreign intelligence service, Borovik was a KGB agent in the United States, one of whose successful projects was propagation of false theories regarding John F. Kennedy’s assassination.
Beria, Lavrentiy (Merkheuli, Russian Empire, 29 March 1899 - Moscow, 23 December 1953), chief of the Soviet secret police (NKVD) under Stalin. Supervised deportations, mass executions, initiated purges, administered the vast expansion of the Gulag labor camps, had a supervisory role in the execution of Polish prisoners or war in 1940 in what became known as the Katyn massacre. Given death sentence for treason following Stalin’s death.
Brandt, Willy (b. Herbert Ernst Karl Frahm in Luebeck, Germany, 18 December 1913 - d. Unkel, Germany, 8 October 1992), leader of Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) 1964-1987, West German Chancellor 1969-1974. Received Nobel Peace Prize in 1971 for efforts to reconcile West Germany and Eastern Europe. Resigned as Chancellor after one of his closest aides was exposed as an agent of the Stasi, the East German secret service.
Brezhnev, Leonid (Kamenskoe, Russian Empire, 19 December 1906 - Zarechie, USSR, 10 November 1982), Soviet head of state 1964-1982. Reversed Khrushchev’s liberalization of Soviet cultural policy, brought about economic stagnation which triggered the dissolution of the USSR, clamped down on cultural freedoms, instigated invasions of Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan. Brezhnev’s only major foreign policy innovation was détente.
Brodsky, Joseph (Leningrad, USSR, 24 May 1940 - Brooklyn, NY, 28 January 1996, buried in Venice, Italy), Russian and American poet, essayist, educator. Since 1955 wrote poetry, circulated it in samizdat publications. Had his work denounced in a newspaper as anti-Soviet in 1963, shortly after got arrested, interrogated, put under examination in a mental hospital, and then charged with “social parasitism” in a court trial in 1964, which found that his freelance work as a translator did not qualify as a real job. Was sentenced to five years of hard labor for “parasitism”, of which served only 18 months on a farm 350 miles from Leningrad due to protests by prominent cultural figures including Jean-Paul Sartre. Continued to live in Leningrad until 1972 when, against his wishes, was put on a plane to Vienna and deported from the USSR. Settled in the United States where he taught literature at universities including Yale, Columbia, and Michigan. Was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1987.
Bukovsky, Vladimir (b. Belebei, USSR, 30 December 1942), human rights activist, writer, neurophysiologist, celebrated for his part in the campaign to expose and stop the political abuse of psychiatry in the USSR. Spent 12 years in Soviet psychiatric prisons, jails and labor camps. Went on hunger strikes while in prison, was put in solitary confinement punishment cells and tortured for demanding observance of prisoners’ rights. Was deported to the West in 1976. With Cuban dissident Armando Valladares co-founded Resistance International, an anti-communist organization which, among other things, helped Soviet prisoners of war leave Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion. Member of the international advisory council of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, director of the Gratitude Fund (set up in 1998 to commemorate and support former dissidents), member of the International Council of the New York City-based Human Rights Foundation, Senior Fellow of the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. Recipient of Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom (2001).
Bulgakov, Mikhail (Kiev, Russian Empire, 15 May 1891 - Moscow, 10 March 1940), Russian writer, playwright, medical doctor. His novel The Master and Margarita explors the relationship between good and evil, courage and fear, myth and truth, creative talent and political power, and is widely acknowledged as one of the masterpieces of 20th century literature. Had to rewrite the novel from memory after he burned the draft manuscript in 1930 at a time of widespread political repression.
Brzezinski, Zbigniew (Warsaw, 28 March 1928 - Falls Church, VA, 26 May 2017), Polish-American diplomat and political scientist, counselor to president Lyndon Johnson 1966-1968 and Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor 1977-1981. An outspoken critic of the Nixon-Kissinger over-reliance on détente. Favored the Helsinki process instead, with focus on human rights and international law. Believed détente emboldened the Soviets in Angola and the Middle East. Opposed the views of Secretary of State Cyrus Vance who argued for less emphasis on human rights to gain Soviet agreement to Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT). Ordered Radio Free Europe transmitters to increase the power and area of broadcasts. Recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1981).
Carter, James Earl “Jimmy” (b. Plains, GA, 1 October 1924), the 39th president of the United States (1977-1981), Democrat. Attempted to mitigate various conflicts around the world, including signing the SALT II nuclear arms reduction treaty with the USSR. Nobel Peace Prize laureate (2002).
Chekhov, Anton (Taganrog, Russian Empire, 29 January 1860 - Badenweiler, Germany, 15 July 1904), Russian playwright and short-story writer. Made groundbreaking innovations in short story writing and is one of the seminal figures of early modernism in the theatre. His most widely acclaimed work The Cherry Orchard dramatized the socio-economic forces in Russia at the turn of the 20th century, including the rise of the middle class after the abolition of serfdom and decline of the aristocracy.
Chernenko, Konstantin (Bol’shaya Tes’, Russian Empire, 24 September 1911 - Moscow, 10 March 1985), Soviet head of state 1984-1985. Represented a return to the policies of the late Brezhnev era. In foreign policy negotiated a trade pact with China. Despite calls for renewed détente, Chernenko did little to prevent the escalation of the Cold War with the United States.
Chichikov, Pavel, a fictional character in Nikolai Gogol’s 1842 novel Dead Souls who travels in rural Russia purchasing the names of dead surfs from landowners to amass them as fictitious property to later pledge as a collateral for raising funds for a business venture. In modern Russia Chichikov is synonymous to an untrustworthy sycophant, a con artist, a dishonest moneymaker who appears to be outwardly pleasant and respectable.
Ceaușescu, Nicolae (Scorniceștiy, Romania, 26 January 1918 - Târgoviște, Romania, 25 December 1989), Romanian head of state 1967-1989, head of severely totalitarian government whose secret police, the Securitate, was responsible for mass surveillance, severe repression of the media, and human rights abuses, implementing some of the harshest repressive methods in the world. This, as well as nepotism, economic mismanagement, and heavy rationing of food lead to anti-government protests in 1989 with the military opening fire and causing multiple deaths and injuries. Rioting across the country, which became known as the Romanian Revolution, led to overthrow of government. Ceausescu and his wife attempted to flee, but were captured, tired, convicted of genocide, and immediately executed by a firing squad.
Corvalán, Luis (Puerto Montt, Chile, 14 September 1916 - Santiago, Chile, 21 July 2010), head of the communist party of Chile for over three decades. Was arrested in 1973 following Pinochet’s military coup, became the most prominent political prisoner in Chile. In 1976 was exchanged for Vladimir Bukovsky and received asylum in the USSR. Returned to Chile in 1988 following plastic surgery to make him unrecognizable to the Chilean authorities.
Daniel, Yuli (literary name Nikolay Arzhak, b. Moscow, 15 November 1925 - d. Moscow, 30 December 1988), Russian writer, poet, translator, dissident. Together with Andrei Sinyavsky smuggled writings abroad in 1966 under a pen name. Did not intend to oppose the communist rule but was concerned about the resurgence of the Stalin cult under Khrushchev. Believed Socialism was the way forward but that the methods employed were at times erroneous. In 1965 was arrested with Sinyavsky and tried in the famous Sinyavsky-Daniel trial, entering a plea of not guilty. Was sentenced to five years of hard labor for “anti-Soviet activity” in 1966. Lived in Kaluga after spending four years in Mordova labor camps and one year in the Vladimir prison.
Dzerzhinsky, Felix (Dzerzhinovo, Russian Empire, 11 September 1877 - Moscow, 20 July 1926), Soviet bolshevik revolutionary and statesman. Led the first two Soviet secret police organizations, the Cheka (All-Russian Extraordinary Commission) and the OGPU (Joint State Political Directorate) from 1917 until his death. Under his leadership the Cheka became notorious for mass summary executions. Defined his goal as “terrorization, arrests, and extermination of enemies of the revolution on the basis of their class affiliation.”
Eaton, Cyrus Stephen (Pugwash, Canada, 27 December 1883 - Northfield, OH, 9 May 1979), Canadian-American investment banker, outspoken critic of the U.S. Cold War policy, Lenin Peace Prize laureate (1960) for his efforts at reconciliation with the USSR.
Esenin-Volpin, Alexander (Leningrad, 12 May 1924 - Boston, MA, 16 March 2016), a prominent Russian-American poet and mathematician, human rights activist. Between 1949 and 1968 spent a total of 14 years incarcerated in prisons, mental hospitals, and in exile. Was one of the first Soviet dissidents to take on a "legalist" strategy of dissent, proclaiming it was possible and necessary to defend human rights by strictly observing the law, and in turn demand that the authorities observe the formally guaranteed rights. Emigrated to the United States in 1972, worked at Boston University.
Fainberg, Viktor (b. Kharkiv, USSR, 26 November 1931), philologist, human rights activist. Sentenced to a year of forced labor in 1957, participated in the 1968 Red Square demonstration against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Was beaten and lost many teeth during arrest, therefore was not presented for trial and was confined to a psychiatric hospital 1969-1973. Went on hunger strike in hospital, was force-fed and subjected to torture. Immigrated to the UK in 1974 where he initiated the Campaign Against Psychiatric Abuses (CAPA) to fight punitive psychiatry in the USSR.
Falin, Valentin (Leningrad, 3 April 1926 – Moscow, 22 February 2018), Soviet diplomat and politician, USSR ambassador to West Germany 1971-1978.
Gabay, Ilya (Baku, 9 October 1935 - Moscow, 20 October 1973, buried in Baku), literature teacher, poet, writer, human rights activist. Assisted in editing the Chronicle of Current Events, was involved in publicizing the struggle of the exiled Crimean Tatars, helped edit samizdat publications. Spent five months in prison (1967) and three years in labor camp (1970-1972). Upon release was not allowed any kind of employment and was subjected to KGB harassment. Committed suicide.
Galanskov, Yuri (Moscow, 19 June 1939 - Dubravlag Mordovia labor camp, 4 November 1972), poet, human rights activist, historian, founding editor of samizdat almanac Phoenix. Forcibly treated in a psychiatric prison, in 1968 sentenced to 7 years in labor camp where he advocated rights of prisoners, was denied medical care, and died following surgery performed by a non-doctor fellow inmate.
Galich, Alexander (b. Alexander Ginsburg, Ekaterinoslav, USSR, 19 October 1918 - d. Paris, 15 December 1977), Soviet and Russian poet, playwright, writer, human rights activist, singer-songwriter with many songs dedicated to World War II and the lives of labor camp inmates. Was expelled from the Soviet Writers’ Union in 1971 and from the Union of Cinematographers in 1971. Immigrated to the West in 1974.
Gamsakhurdia, Zviad (Tbilisi, 31 March 1939 - Khibula, Georgia, 31 December 1993), Georgian politician, dissident, writer. In 1973 co-founded the Georgian Action Group for the Defense of Human Rights, in 1976 became chairman of the Georgian Helsinki Group. Was active in samizdat, contributed to the Chronicle of Current Events. Was arrested in 1977, sentenced to three years of labor camps and three years of exile for "anti-Soviet activities.” In 1979 was released and pardoned following his confession to charges and recanting his views. Soon after returned to dissident activities. In 1990 was elected chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Georgia. In 1991 U.S.-based Helsinki Watch issued a report on his government’s human rights violations. Was overthrown as head of state in a coup d’état in 1991. Escaped and was granted asylum in the breakaway Russian republic of Chechnya.
Ginzburg, Alexander (Moscow, 21 November 1936 - Paris, 19 July 2002), journalist, poet, human rights activist, founding member of the Moscow Helsinki Group, co-founder of the Fund for the Aid of Political Prisoners with Alexander Solzhenitsyn, editor of poetry almanacs Phoenix (with Yuri Galanskov) and Sintaksis. From 1961 to 1969 served three terms in labor camps. Sentenced to 8 years of forced labor in 1978. Deported to the U.S. in 1979 as part of prisoner exchange.
Glazunov, Ilya (Leningrad, 10 June 1930 - Moscow, 9 July 2017), Russian artist, founder of the Russian Academy of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in Moscow.
One of the co-founders of the All-Russian Society for Protection of Historical and Cultural Monuments. After the collapse of the USSR actively expressed monarchistic and anti-democratic views.
Goebbels, Joseph (Rheydt, Germany, 29 October 1897 - Berlin, 1 May 1945), German Nazi politician and Minister of Propaganda 1933-1945. One of Adolf Hitler’s closest associates and admirers. Controlled the media in Nazi Germany and in the occupied countries, oversaw party rallies, propaganda films, and demonstrations. Wrote newspaper editorials and made frequent speeches. Was appointed Reich Chancellor in Hitler’s last will. After Hitler’s suicide and having his ceasefire request rejected by the Soviets, together with his wife poisoned their six children and committed suicide.
Gogol, Nikolai (b. Nikolai Yanovski, Sorochintsy, Russian Empire, 1 April 1809 - Moscow, 4 March 1852), Russian writer of Ukrainian descent, playwright, essayist, widely acknowledged as one the finest comic authors in world literature. Combined romanticism and realism to portray absurdity of everyday life. Influenced all subsequent Russian writers, especially Dostoevsky, as well as the 20th century modernist literature.
Gorbachev, Mikhail (b. Privolnoye, Russia, 2 March 1931), the last head of state of the USSR (1988-1991). Tried to reform the communist party and the state economy by introducing glasnost (“openness”) and perestroika (“restructuring”), sought to improve relations and trade with the West. Nobel Peace Prize laureate (1990).
Gorbanevskaya, Natalya (Moscow, 26 May 1936 - Paris, 29 November 2013), poet, translator, human rights activist, the first editor and one of the founders of Chronicle of Current Events samizdat periodical. Sentenced to imprisonment in a psychiatric prison in 1970 after taking part in the 1968 Red Square demonstration against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Released in 1972, emigrated to France in 1975.
Grigorenko, Pyotr (Petro) (Borisovka, Russian Empire, 16 October 1907 - New York, 21 February 1987), Soviet Army major general, Word War II decorated veteran, human rights activist, writer, professor of cybernetics, co-founder of the Moscow Helsinki Group and the Ukrainian Helsinki Group. Spent six years in psychiatric prisons (1964-1965 and 1969-1974), stripped of military rank. Key defender of the Crimean Tatars deported to Soviet Central Asia, the first to question the official Soviet version of the WW II history. In 1977, while visiting the United States, was stripped of citizenship by the Soviet government and disallowed to return the the USSR.
Gromyko, Andrei (Starye Gromyki, Russian Empire, 5 July 1909 - Moscow, 2 July 1989), Soviet diplomat, Minister of Foreign Affairs (1957-1985), played direct role in the Cuban Missile Crisis, helped negotiate arms reduction treaties such as the ABM Treaty, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, SALT I and SALT II, helped build the policy of détente between the US and the USSR. Lost his office as foreign minister when Gorbachev became head of state.
Handal, Schafik Jorge (Usulután, El Salvador, October 14, 1930 – San Salvador, El Salvador, January 24, 2006), leader of the communist party of El Salvador (1973-1994), a guerrilla leader in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Honecker, Erich (Neunkirchen, Germany, 25 August 1912 - Santiago, Chile, 29 May 1994), East German head of state 1971-1989, General Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party, was imprisoned by the Nazis for being a German Communist Party official. Was the chief organizer of the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961 and was in charge of the “order to fire” along the inner German border. In the late 1980s, as anticommunist protests grew, repeatedly requested the USSR to intervene in order to maintain communist rule in East Germany. Following reunification of Germany sought asylum in the Chilean embassy in Moscow in 1991 but was extradited back to Germany a year later to stand trial for his role in the human rights abuses committed by the East German government. Was freed from custody due to illness and allowed to travel to Chile.
Ilyin, Victor (b. Leningrad, 26 December 1947), Soviet Army lieutenant who attempted to assassinate Leonid Brezhnev in 1969 in Moscow. Was pronounced insane and sent to Kazan Psychiatric Hospital where he was kept in solitary confinement until 1988. Was released in 1990. Was said to have been resentful of his forced conscription to the army and indignant about the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.
Jaruzelski, Wojciech (Kurow, Poland, 6 July 1923 - Warsaw, 25 May 2014), Polish head of state from 1981 to 1989. Also served as Prime Minister 1981-1985. Was responsible for the imposition of the martial law in Poland in 1981 in an attempt to crush pro-democracy movements. Subsequently his government censored, persecuted, and jailed thousands of journalists and opposition activists without charge. The resulting socio-economic crisis led to the rationing of basic food, gasoline, and consumer goods. Resigned after the Polish Round Table Agreement in 1989, which led to democratic elections in the country.
Kafka, Franz (Prague, 3 July 1883 - Klosterneuburg, Austrian Empire, 3 June 1924), German-language Jewish writer, lifelong resident of Prague, one of the most influential modernist writers, author of innovative fiction which explores relationships between an individual and the state, normalcy and pathology, the implied and the hidden, and contradictions between different impressions of reality.
Kalinin, Mikhail (Verkhnaya Troitsa, Russian Empire, 19 November 1875 - Moscow, 3 June 1946), Russian bolshevik revolutionary, Soviet statesman and communist party functionary. Was an ally of Stalin during the struggle for power after Lenin’s death in 1924. In 1934 signed an ordinance which provided legal foundation for mass repressions. Kept a low profile during the late 1930s and remained submissive to Stalin, even following arrest, torture, and imprisonment of his wife on charges of being a Trotskyist.
Kalugin, Oleg (b. Leningrad, 6 September 1934), former KGB general, longtime head of KGB operations in Russia and later a critic of the agency. American citizen since 2003.
Kapitonov, Ivan (Serovskoe Village, Russian Empire, 23 February 1915 - Moscow, 28 May 2002), Soviet communist party functionary, Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1965-1986), Chairman of the Central Auditing Commission of the Communist Party (1965-1986).
Karmal, Babrak (Kabul, 6 January 1929 - Moscow, 3 December 1996), Afghan politician, was installed as president of Afghanistan by the USSR after the 1979 Soviet invasion. One of the leading members of the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA). The Soviet Union deposed Karmal in 1986 and replaced him with Mohammad Najibullah.
Khrushchev, Nikita (Kalinovka, Russian Empire, 15 April 1894 - Moscow, 11 September 1971), Soviet head of state 1953-1964. Initiated de-Stalinization of the USSR and several relatively liberal reforms in domestic policy. Crushed a revolt in Hungary and approved construction of the Berlin Wall, although largely pursued a policy of peaceful coexistence with the West.
Kiesinger, Kurt (Albstadt, Germany, 6 April 1904 - Tuebingen, Germany, 9 March 1988), West German politician, former Nazi party member, became Chancellor (1966-1969) after forming a coalition with Willy Brandt’s Social Democratic Party. Chairman of the Christian Democratic Union 1967-1971. Was succeeded as Chancellor by Willy Brandt.
Kissinger, Henry (b. Heinz Alfred Kissinger, Fuerth, Germany, 27 May 1923), American political scientist, diplomat, and political consultant, served as the U.S. Secretary of State (1973) and National Security Advisor (1969). Played a prominent role in the U.S. foreign policy between 1969 and 1977. Pioneered the concept of détente with the Soviet Union, worked to improve American relations with China, negotiated the Paris Peace Accords. Has been associated with the U.S. involvement in a military coup in Chile and support for Pakistan during the Bangladesh War. After leaving government, formed Kissinger Associates, an international geopolitical consulting firm. Received the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize for his part in negotiating a ceasefire in Vietnam. Unsuccessfully sought to return the prize after he ceasefire failed.
Lord Killanin (b. Michael Morris in London 30 July 1914 - d. Dublin, 25 April 1999), British journalist, business executive, president of the International Olympic Committee 1972-1980. Following the boycott by 62 out of 142 member countries of the 1980 Olympic games in Moscow, struggled to save the event. Brought communist China into the Olympic fold.
Kerensky, Alexander (Simbirsk, Russian Empire, 4 May 1881 - New York, NY, 11 June 1970), Russian lawyer and statesman, head of the Russian Provisional Government (20 July 1917 - 7 November 1917), leader of the moderate-socialist Trudoviks faction of the Socialist Revolutionary Party. On 7 November 1917 had his government overthrown by the Lenin-led bolsheviks. Spent the remainder of his life in exile, in Paris and New York City, worked at the Hoover Institution.
Korobochka, Nastasya, a fictional character in Nikolai Gogol’s 1842 novel Dead Souls, one of the landowners who agrees to sell the names of her dead surfs to scam artist Chichikov. Headstrong, businesslike, frugal, narrow-minded, and superstitious. Lives in a well-kept, sturdy house devoid of vitality or human warmth.
Kosygin, Alexei (St. Petersburg, 21 February 1904 — Moscow, 18 December 1980), Soviet statesman during the Cold War, initiator of the failed 1965 economic reform, chief negotiator with the West during the 1960s. Signed the 1970 Moscow Treaty with West Germany which recognized the post-WWII borders, enshrining the division between East and West Germany.
Kravchuk, Leonid (b. Velikyi Zhitin Village, Poland, 10 January 1934), Ukrainian politician, first president of Ukraine (1991-1994), former chairman of the Ukrainian parliament. Joined the Communist Party of Ukraine in 1958 and rose through the ranks of its agitprop department. In 1990 became the Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Resigned from the Communist Party following the 1991 Soviet coup attempt. After the declaration of Ukraine’s independence, became the president of Ukraine.
Kreisky, Bruno (Vienna, 22 January 1911 - Vienna, 29 July 1990), Austrian politician, prominent member and leader of the Social Democratic Party, Foreign Minister 1959-1966, Chancellor 1970-1983. Sought to bridge the gap between the Catholic Church and the Austrian socialist movement. Worked with Willy Brandt and Olof Palme to promote détente. Had allegations raised against him of apologetic approach to former Nazi party members and contemporary far-right Austrian politicians.
Landau, Lev (Baku, 22 January 1908 - Moscow, 1 April 1968), Soviet physicist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics (1962), critic of the Soviet suppression of the 1956 Hungarian Uprising. Spent a year in prison (1938-1939) for editing an anti-stalinist leaflet, released following intercession of a number of prominent physicists. In 1965 signed a letter to the New York Times condemning the U.S. intervention on behalf of the Soviet refusenik Jews.
Ligachev, Yegor (b. Dubinkino, USSR, 29 November 1920), Soviet politician, was regarded as Gorbachev’s right-hand man holding important posts such as Secretary for Ideology. Became critical of Gorbachev and was demoted from this position in 1988, after which he led a conservative, anti-Gorbachev fraction of Soviet politicians.
Litvinov, Pavel (b. Moscow, 6 July 1940), physicist, writer, human rights activist, editor of Chronicle of Current Events samizdat periodical, participated in the 1968 Red Square demonstration against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, following which was sentenced to five years of exile. Immigrated to the United States in 1974.
Lubimov, Yuri (Yaroslavl, Russian Empire, 30 September 1917 - Moscow, 5 October 1914), Soviet and Russian stage actor and director, founder of the Taganka Theatre in Moscow (1964), one of the leading names in the Russian theatre world. In 1980 had his productions banned by the authorities, was stripped of Soviet citizenship in 1984, following which worked in the United States and in Europe. Returned to the Taganka Theatre in 1989.
Mandelstam, Osip (b. Joseph Mandelstam, 15 January 1891, Warsaw - d. Vladivostok transit prison camp, 27 December 1938), Russian poet, writer, translator, essayist, critic, one of the greatest Russian 20th century poets. Was arrested and exiled in 1934 for writing an anti-Stalin poem. Returned to Moscow in 1937. Arrested in 1938 and sentenced to five years in a labor camp. Died in a transit prisoner camp in Vladivostok.
Marchenko, Anatoly (Barabinsk, USSR, 23 January 1938 - Chistopol prison, USSR, 8 December 1986), laborer, writer, human rights activist, author of My Testimony, an account of Soviet labor camp system, one of the founding members of the Moscow Helsinki Group. Spent 16 years in prisons, exiles and labor camps before final arrest in 1980 and a 15-year sentence for “anti-Soviet agitation.” Kept writing throughout his prison time with a goal to publicize the Soviet penitentiary system. Died in Chistopol prison hospital, as a result of a three-month-long hunger strike. The international outcry following his death was a major factor in pushing Mikhail Gorbachev to authorize a large-scale amnesty of political prisoners in 1987.
Maximov, Vladimir (b. Lev Samsonov, Moscow, 27 November 1930 - d. Paris, 26 March 1995), Soviet and Russian writer, publicist, essayist, editor, dissident. Spent childhood in and out of orphanages after his father was prosecuted in 1937 during the anti-Trotskyism purge, traveled in Siberia, spent time in jails and labor camps, following which worked as construction worker. In 1963 became a member of the Union of Soviet Writers and became an Oktyabr magazine staffer. Wrote books advocating Christian ideals and was skeptical of communism, had works banned by authorities and published them in samizdat. In 1973 was expelled from the Writers' Union and spent several months in a psychiatric ward. In 1974 left the USSR and settled in Paris were he launched the literary and political magazine Kontinent publishing, among others, works of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Alexander Galich, Joseph Brodsky, and Andrei Sakharov.
Remained the magazine's editor-in-chief up until 1992, when, during one of his visits to Moscow, transferred it to Russia and granted all rights to his colleagues in Moscow. Was the head of the executive committee of the anti-communist organization Resistance International.
Medvedev, Roy (b. Tbilisi, 14 November 1925), political writer, criticized stalinism from a Marxist viewpoint, was engaged in samizdat publications, sought a reformist version of socialism.
Medvedev, Zhores (b. Tbilisi, 14 November 1925), biologist, samizdat writer, was forcibly treated in a psychiatric hospital for three weeks in 1970. Was stripped of Soviet citizenship in 1973 while working in London at the National Institute for Medical Research.
Mikoyan, Anastas (Sanain Village, Russian Empire, 25 November 1895 - Moscow, 21 October 1978), Soviet revolutionary, statesman under Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev, and Brezhnev. Took part in Stalin’s purges, advocated repressions. Oscillated between the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the USSR and the Politburo.
Molotov, Vyacheslav (b. Vyacheslav Skryabin 9 March 1890, Kukarka, Russian Empire - 8 November 1986, Moscow), Soviet foreign minister 1939-1949 and 1953-1956. Principal Soviet signatory of the Nazi-Soviet nonaggression pact of 1939 which among other things stipulated invasion of Poland and its partition by the Nazi Germany and the USSR. After World War II was involved in negotiations with the Western allies. After Stalin’s death staunchly opposed Khrushchev’s de-Stalinization policy.
Neizvestny, Ernst (Sverdlovsk, USSR, 9 April 1925 - New York, NY, 9 August 2016), Russian-American sculptor, painter, graphic artist, and art philosopher. Had his works derided by Khrushchev in 1962 as “degenerate,” but was approached by Khrushchev’s family after his death to design his tomb. In 1973 applied to the Soviet authorities for a permission to emigrate, was refused, but finally granted permission in 1976. Lived in New York City since 1977, taught at Columbia University. During the 1980s was visiting lecturer at the University of Oregon and UC Berkeley. In 1996 completed Mask of Sorrow, a 49-ft monument in Magadan to the victims of Soviet political repressions. Had some of his crucifixion statutes acquired by John Paul II for the Vatican museums.
Nixon, Richard Milhous (Yorba Linda, CA, 9 January 1913 - New York, NY, 22 April 1994), the 37th president of the United States (1969-1974), Republican. Resigned from office following the Watergate scandal. Visited Moscow to negotiate with Leonid Brezhnev agreements for increased trade as well as two arms control treaties: SALT I and Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Together with Brezhnev proclaimed détente.
Orlov, Yuri (b. Moscow, USSR, 13 August 1924), Professor of Physics and Government at Cornell University, a former Soviet dissident, Soviet nuclear physicist and human rights activist. Arrested in 1977, had a closed trial which disallowed witnesses and examination of evidence, served nine years in prison and in labor camps where he went on hunger strikes to make prison authorities return his confiscated writings and notes. Was exiled to Siberia in 1984. Was deported from the USSR in December 1986.
Owen, David (b. Plympton, UK, 2 July 1938), British politician, Labor foreign secretary 1977-1979. Co-founded of the Social Democratic Party which he led from 1983 to 1987. From 2002 to 2005 was chairman of Yukos International UK BV, a division of the now-defunct Russian petroleum giant Yukos. Was consultant to Epion Holdings, owned by Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov until 2015.
Palme, Olof Sven Joachim (Stockholm, 30 January 1927 - Stockholm, 28 February 1986), Swedish Social Democratic politician and statesman, a two-term Prime Minister of Sweden. Supported numerous third world liberation movements, was the first Western head of government to visit Cuba, gave speech in Santiago praising Cuban and Cambodian revolutionaries. Was murdered on a Stockholm street. The Palme Commission (officially named “The Independent Commission on Disarmament and Security Issues”) was a public body for East-West communication set up in 1980 and run by Palme, former U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, and Soviet general Mikhail Milshetein. Among others, it included former British Labour foreign minster David Owen, West German Social Democratic Party leader Egon Bahr, and Socialist International spokesman Georgy Arbatov.
Pasternak, Boris (Moscow, 10 February 1890 - Peredelkino, USSR, 30 May 1960), writer, translator, one of the most influential Russian poets of the 20th century. Was demonized in the Soviet press and had his works, including novel Doctor Zhivago banned in the USSR. Was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958 but was forced to decline it.
Pavlinchuk, Valery (Vinnytsia, USSR, 9 August 1937 - Obninsk, USSR, 31 July 1968), physicist, writer, editor of popular science books. Was expelled from the communist party in 1968 for circulating the samizdat periodical Chronicle of Current Events.
Pekhoya, Rudolf (b. Polevskoi, USSR, 27 January 1947), Soviet and Russian historian, Chief Archivist of Russia (1992-1996).
Pelše, Arvīds (Latvia, 7 February 1899 - Moscow, 29 May 1983), a Latvian Soviet politician, functionary, and historian. Was actively involved in the October Revolution in 1917. In 1918 joined the Cheka, the Soviet secret police. Served as the First Secretary of the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic 1959-1966. From 1966 to 1983 was the Chairman of the Party Control Committee which oversaw the discipline of the communist party members.
Pétain, Philippe (Pas-de-Calais, 24 April 1856 - Port-Joinville, 23 July 1951), French military leader and statesman, Marshal of France. Served as the Chief of State of the Vichy France from 1940 to 1944, the French collaborationist authoritarian government. After the war was tried and convicted of treason. Was originally sentenced to death, but due to outstanding military leadership in World War I was spared execution. Died in prison.
Platonov, Andrei (b. Andrei Klimentov, Voronezh, Russian Empire, 28 August 1899 - Moscow, 5 January 1951), Russian writer, poet, playwright, forerunner of existentialism in world literature. Had works banned in his lifetime for implicit criticism of collectivization and Stalin’s policies, as well as experimental style of his writing. Had son sent to labor camp in the Stalinist purge of the 1930s where he contracted tuberculosis. Platonov himself contracted the disease while nursing his son after release.
Plissonnnier, Gaston (Bantanges, 11 July 1913 - Levallois-Perret, 16 May 1995), apparatchik of the French Communist Party (FCP), admirer of the USSR. At Moscow's requests assisted illegal Communist parties in Europe. Credited with preventing the FCP from going too far in its disavowal of the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia and with introducing the phrase "globally positive" in 1979 to describe the Eastern regimes.
Plyushch, Leonid (Naryn, USSR, 26 April 1938 - Besseges, France, 4 June 2015), Ukrainian and Soviet mathematician, writer, dissident, member of the Initiative Group for the Defense of Human Rights in the USSR. Protested against the misconduct of the Galanskov-Ginzburg trial and against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Was arrested in 1972. After a trial which took place in his absence was pronounced insane and was imprisoned in the Dnepropetrovsk Special Psychiatric Hospital in a ward for severely psychotic patients. His letters from the hospital under the title The Case of Leonid Plyushch were published in the West in 1974. Following protests by American mathematicians against his imprisonment was allowed to leave the Soviet Union in 1976. Later in life supported anti-totalitarian publications in communist countries, although retained his communist beliefs.
Podgorny, Nikolai (Karlovka, Russian Empire, 18 February 1903 - Moscow, 11 January 1983), Ukrainian Soviet statesman, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine (1957-1963), Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet (1965-1977). As a protégé of Nikita Khrushchev traveled with him to the United Nations headquarters in 1960. Acted as Soviet ambassador to Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Canada, Yugoslavia. Before his removal was the second most powerful man in the USSR, behind Brezhnev and ahead of Kosygin. Was removed from the Politburo in 1977 as a result of rivalry with Brezhnev.
Poltoranin, Mikhail (b. Ridder, USSR, 22 November 1939), Russian journalist and politician, served as minister of information and deputy chairman of government under Boris Yeltsin. Was sacked from both posts in 1992, which was viewed as a move to placate the conservative opposition to Yeltsin. From 1992 to 1993 headed the Federal Information Center of Russia, served as the chairman of the Special Commission on Archives. President of the Moment of Truth TV corporation since 1996.
Ponomarev, Boris (Zaraisk, Russian Empire, 4 January 1905 - Moscow, 21 December 1995), head of the Department for Liaison with Foreign Communist Parties from 1955 to 1986, one of the key participants in development of the Soviet Union’s foreign policy.
Posner, Vladimir (b. Paris, 1 April 1934), French-born Russian-American journalist and broadcaster known in the West for defending Soviet policies during the cold war. Hosted Soviet propaganda programs on the Voice of Moscow, served as senior editor of Soviet Life magazine, often appeared on the Phil Donahue Show. Rationalized the arrest and exile of Andrei Sakharov, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and shooting of Korean Airlines Flight 007. Was promoted to political observer on Soviet television where he worked on domestic Soviet broadcasts. Co-hosted the Pozner / Donahue weekly show on CNBC from 1991 to 1994. While living in New York, regularly commuted to Moscow to tape his programs that aired in Russia. Returned to Moscow in 1997, continuing his work as a television journalist. Currently appears on Russian television criticizing US policies and hosts an interview program on Russian Channel One.
Reagan, Ronald (Tampico, IL, 6 February 1911 - Los Angeles, CA, 5 June 2004), the 40th president of the United States (1981-1989), Republican. Put into practice the concept that the Soviet Union could be defeated rather than simply negotiated with, contributed to the non-violent downfall of the USSR.
Rostropovich, Mstislav (Baku, 27 March 1927 - Moscow, 27 April 2007), Soviet and Russian cellist and conductor. Supported Alexander Solzhenitsyn and as a result was banned from touring abroad. Left the Soviet Union in 1974 with wife Galina Vishnevskaya and their children, settled in the United States. Was prohibited from playing concerts in the Soviet Union. From 1977 to 1994 was musical director and conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. Supported Boris Yeltsin and was on friendly terms with Vladimir Putin. Celebrated his 80th birthday in the Kremlin where he was praised in a speech by Putin and awarded the Order for Services to the Fatherland.
Rudenko, Roman (Nosovka, Russian Empire, 30 July 1907 - Moscow, 23 January 1981), Procurator-General of the USSR (1953-1981), devised multiple measures to suppress the Soviet dissident movement, served as judge at the closed trial of Lavretiy Beria in 1953. One of the chief commandants of the NKVD special camp No. 7 (a former Nazi concentration camp) until its closure in 1950 where 12,000 prisoners died under his supervision of malnutrition and disease. Served as chief prosecutor for the USSR at the 1946 trial of Nazi war criminals in Nuremberg.
Rutskoy, Alexander (b. Proskurov, USSR, 16 September 1947), Russian politician and former Soviet military officer, commander of a Soviet air assault regiment in Afghanistan, was briefly held as a POW in Pakistan. Vice President of Russia 1991-1993. Tried to remove Yeltsin from presidency and was proclaimed acting president of Russia in the constitutional crisis of 1993, although his interim presidency was never acknowledged outside Russia. Was arrested after a two-week standoff and the takeover of the Parliament building by Yeltsin's military forces, was dismissed from the post of Vice President and imprisoned until 1994 when he was pardoned by the new parliament. Served as Governor of Kursk Oblast from 1996 to 2000.
Sakharov, Andrei (Moscow, 21 May 1921 - Moscow, 14 December 1989), nuclear physicist, human rights activist, designer of the Soviet Union’s first two-stage hydrogen bomb (1955), founding member of the Committee on Human Rights in the USSR (1970). Spoke out against nuclear proliferation, appealed to Soviet government for nuclear disarmament, circulated appeals in samizdat and abroad, was banned from conducting military-related research, stood vigil outside courtrooms where dissidents were tried, wrote appeals on behalf of political prisoners. Appealed to the U.S. Congress to approve the 1974 Jackson-Vanik Amendment to trade bill, which made trade tariffs contingent on the Kremlin allowing freer emigration. Was target of sustained pressure and intimidation from the Soviet establishment, threatened with violence. Arrested in 1980 following his public protests against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, was sent to exile in Gorky (a city which was off limits to foreigners) where he was kept under tight police surveillance. Went on hunger strike in 1984 demanding permission for his wife to travel to the U.S. for heart surgery. Was hospitalized against his will and force-fed. Nobel Peace Prize laureate (1975).
Shcharansky, Natan (Anatoly) (b. Donetsk, USSR, 20 January 1948), Soviet human rights activist, Israeli politician, mathematician, writer, chess player; worked as translator for dissident and nuclear physicist Andrei Sakharov; as a spokesman for the Moscow Helsinki Group and a leader of the rights of refuseniks. Sentenced to 13 years of imprisonment in 1977. Spent time in prisons, including 405 days in a punishment cell, and in a so-called “strict regimen colony” labor camp. As a result of international campaign was released in 1986. Immediately emigrated to Israel. In 1995 co-founded the Yisrael BaAliyah party with Yoel Edelstein, promoting the absorption of Soviet Jews into Israeli society. Served as the Deputy Prime Minister of Israel, Minister of Housing and Construction, Interior Minister of Israel, and Minister of Industry and Trade.
Shevardnadze, Eduard (Mamati, Georgia, 25 January 1928 - Tbilisi, 7 July 2014), Soviet and Georgian politician and diplomat. Leader of Soviet Georgia 1972-1985, Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs 1985-1991. Played key role in détente, negotiated nuclear arms treaties with the U.S. Following the dissolution of the USSR, became president of Georgia (1992-2003).
Sholokhov, Mikhail (Kruzhilisky Village, Ukraine, 24 May 1905 - Vyoshenskaya Village, USSR, 21 February 1984), Soviet writer. Wrote about the history of the Don cossacks during the Russian Revolution, the civil war, and collectivization. Novel And Quiet Flows The Don won him the Stalin prize and later the Nobel Prize in Literature (1965).
Sinyavskyi, Andrei (literary name Abram Tertz, b. Moscow, 8 October 1925 - d. Fontenay-aux-Roses, France, 25 February 1997), Russian writer, political prisoner. Together with Yuli Daniel smuggled writings abroad in 1966 under a pen name. In 1965 was arrested with Daniel and tried in the famous Sinyavsky-Daniel trial. Was sentenced to seven years of hard labor for “anti-Soviet activity” in 1966. Was released in 1971 and allowed to emigrate in 1973 to France were he co-founded the Russian-language literary almanac Sintaksis. Actively contributed to Radio Liberty.
Semichastny, Vladimir (Grigoryevka Village, USSR, 15 January 1924 - Moscow, 12 January 2001), Chairman of the KGB 1961-1967. Supported national “liberation” movements worldwide, suppressed the dissident movement. Put emphasis on developing intelligence services in other countries of the Eastern bloc. Approve the creation of a "sabotage and terrorism" group (as the KGB itself called it) within the Sandinista National Liberation Front in Nicaragua. Participated in the successful coup against Khrushchev in October 1964. Was replaced with Yuri Andropov in 1967.
Snezhnevsky, Andrei (Kostroma, Russian Empire, 20 May 1904 - Moscow, 12 July 1987), Soviet psychiatrist, inventor of the Soviet concept of “sluggish schizophrenia” which was used for political purposes to repress and punish Soviet dissidents and human rights activists. Academician of the Soviet Academy of Medical Sciences, director of the Serbsky Institute for Forensic Psychiatry (1950-1951), director of the Institute of Psychiatry of the Soviet Academy of Medical Sciences (1962-1987), director of the All-Union Mental Health Research Center of the Soviet Academy of Medical Sciences (1982-1987). Used his regalia and titles to legitimize imprisonment of dissidents in mental hospitals. Personally signed diagnoses of insanity of mentally healthy dissidents including Vladimir Bukovsky, Pyotr Grigorenko, Natalya Gorbanevskaya, and Leonid Plyshch. Diagnosed Joseph Brodsky with “sluggish schizophrenia” in absentia. In 1980, as a Corresponding Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatry, was invited by his British colleagues to answer criticisms relating to his diagnoses given to Plyushch and other dissidents. Refused to do so and resigned his fellowship.
Solomentsev, Mikhail (Yerilovka Village, Russian Empire, 7 November 1913 - Moscow, 15 February 2008), Soviet politician, leading Communist Party functionary in Kazakhstan 1962–1964, head of the Central Control Commission of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union where he oversaw discipline of the party members (1983-1988), one of the main supporters of Gorbachev’s anti-alcohol campaign of the mid-1980s. Was accused of aiding corruption in Uzbekistan by the republic’s First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party during a series of criminal corruption trials in the late 1980s known as “the Cotton Case” but was never charged with any crime.
Solzhenitsyn, Alexander (Kislovodsk, 11 December 1918 - Moscow, 3 August 2008), Russian writer. Established international awareness of the Soviet Gulag labor camp system. Served as Soviet Army commander during World War II. Arrested in 1945 for writing derogatory comments about Stalin in a private letter to a friend, was sentenced to eight years in labor camps. After release in 1953 was sent into exile in Kazakhstan. Freed from exile in 1956 and exonerated. Was allowed to publish only one work in the USSR, after which had to publish in the West. Expelled from the Soviet Union in 1974 and stripped of citizenship. Returned to Russia in 1994. Nobel Prize in Literature laureate (1970).
Sorsa, Taisto Kalevi (Keuruu, Finland, 21 December 1930 – Helsinki, 16 January 2004), longtime leader of the Social Democratic Party of Finland, served as prime minister of Finland three times: 1972–1975, 1977–1979 and 1982–1987. Began political career in 1969. A 2008 book by historian Jukka Seppinen suggests Sorsa was at that time already receiving support from the KGB. In the mid-1970s was elected vice-president of the Socialist International which supported détente and where he had extensive contacts with the USSR on issues of East-West relations and arms control. Led delegations of Socialist International to discussions with Jimmy Carter and Leonid Brezhnev on disarmament agreements. In 1993 entered the Social Democratic Party's primary elections as a presidential candidate, but was forced to withdraw after Vladimir Bukovsky’s revelations of his long-standing covert relations with the Soviet leadership.
Steen, Reiulf (Hurum, Norway, 16 August 1933 - Oslo, 5 June 2014), Norwegian Labor Party politician active 1958-1990, vice president of the Socialist International 1978-1983.
Sverdlov, Yakov (Nizhny Novgorod, Russian Empire, 3 June 1885 - Moscow, 16 March 1919), Russian revolutionary, Soviet politician and statesman. Head of the commission which drafted the 1918 Russian constitution and declared the dictatorship of proletariat.
Participated in planning and carrying out bolshevik repressions and mass killings during the Russian Civil War, as well as in planning the execution of tzar Nicholas II and his family. Died of Spanish flu.
Suslov, Mikhail (Shakhovskoe, Russian Empire, 21 November 1902 - Moscow, 25 January 1982), Soviet statesman during the cold war, took part in mass repressions during Stalin’s rule, served as Head of the Central Committee Department for Agitation and Propaganda (1947-1948), editor-in-chief of the communist party newspaper Pravda (1949-1950), opposed the idea of improvement of relations with the US and Khrushchev’s policy of de-Stalinization. Played a key role in ousting Khrushchev in 1964. Along with Leonid Brezhnev and Premier Alexei Kosygin was one of the most influential Soviet politicians in the 1960s.
Taraki, Nur Muhammad (Kalai Village, Afghanistan, 15 July 1917 - Kabul, 9 October 1979), President of Afghanistan 1978-1979. Initiated the Saur Revolution in 1978 together with Hafizullah Amin and Babrak Karmal, establishing the communist Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. Was referred to in the state media as “the Great Leader.” Imprisoned dissidents and ordered massacres of civilians which led to uprisings. Was unable to persuade the Soviet Union to intervene in order to help him deal with civil unrest. Was overthrown in 1979 and subsequently murdered on Amin’s orders.
Tarkovsky, Andrei (Zavrazhie Village, USSR, 4 April 1932 - Paris, 29 December 1986), Russian filmmaker, was censored by Soviet authorities, in 1984 decided to remain in the West after having worked on one of his films there. Widely acclaimed by peers for having invented a new language in film with poignant visual symbolism and disregard for conventional plot lines.
Tarsis, Valery (Kiev, 23 September 1906 - Bern, 3 March 1983), writer, translator, critic of the communist regime. Published works abroad, which led to an eight-months incarceration in a Soviet mental hospital (1963-1964), an experience he described in his book Ward No. 7. Emigrated to the West in 1966. Lectured at Leicester University and Gettysburg College.
Thatcher, Margaret (b. Margaret Roberts, Grantham, 13 October 1925 - d. 8 April 2013, London), British prime minister 1979-1990, leader of the Conservative Party 1975-1990. Condemned Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, viewed the policy of détente as bankrupt, and became closely aligned with the Cold War policies of president Ronald Reagan based on their shared distrust of communism.
Ustinov, Dmitry (Samara, 39 October 1908 - Moscow, 20 December 1984), Minister of Defense of the Soviet Union (1976-1984). After World War II played a key role in requisitioning the German research as the basis for the Soviet missile and space programs. Under Brezhnev was in charge of developing the Soviet Union's strategic bomber force and intercontinental ballistic missile system. Was one of the strongest proponents of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
Vance, Cyrus (Clarksburg, WV, 27 March 1917 - New York, NY, 12 January 2002), U.S. Secretary of State under Jimmy Carter (1977-1980), worked to advance ties with the Soviet Union, clashed frequently with National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski who pushed for a tougher policy toward the USSR. Negotiated SALT II agreement with Soviet ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin which was signed by Carter and Brezhnev, but didn’t pass ratification by the Senate. After Soviet invasion of Afghanistan spoke against “anti-Sovietism” in Western politics, consequently losing much of his influence.
Voroshilov, Kliment (Verhnee Village, Russian Empire, 4 February 1881 - Moscow, 2 December 1969), Soviet military commander and politician during Stalin area, Marshal of the Soviet Union (since 1935). Joined the bolsheviks in 1905, became a close associate of Stalin during the Russian Civil War. Headed the Petrograd police 1917-1918. Played a key role in Stalin’s purges of the 1930s, denouncing many of his military colleagues. Personally signed 185 execution lists. During the Winter War with Finland (1939-1940) commanded Soviet army troops and as a result of personal incompetence lost 185,000 in casualties. In 1941 commanded the Leningrad Front, failed to prevent the German army from surrounding the city and was replaced by Georgy Zhukov. In 1945-1947 supervised the establishment of the communist regime in Hungary.
Vysotsky, Vladimir (Moscow, 25 January 1938 - Moscow, 25 July 1980), Soviet actor, poet, singer-songwriter, iconic cultural figure in the USSR, author of approximately 600 songs about Word War II, Soviet labor camps, the criminal underworld, as well as songs with anti-Soviet subject matter veiled by allegories, parables, and at times acerbic buffoonery.
Wałęsa, Lech (b. Popovo Village, Poland, 29 September 1943), Polish politician and rights activist, president of Poland (1990-1995), co-founder and leader of Solidarity, the Eastern bloc’s first independent trade union and social movement, which used civil resistance methods to advance workers’ rights and social change. The government responded with martial law (1981-1983) and political repressions attempting to crush the movement, but was forced to finally negotiate. Was instrumental in reaching the Round Table Agreement in 1989 that led to free elections in June 1989 and the establishment of a Solidarity-led government.
Yakir, Pyotr (Kiev, 20 January 1923 - Moscow, 14 November 1982), historian, writer, participant of the human rights movement in the USSR. First arrested and sentenced to five years of imprisonment in 1937. After release in 1942 took part in Word War II in a frontline intelligence unit. Arrested again in 1944 and sentenced to eight years of labor camps. Since 1966 criticized Brezhnev’s policies, took part in anti-stalinist demonstrations, sent appeals to the UN, contributed to the Chronicle of Current Events samizdat periodical. After publication of this book Childhood in Prison in London in 1972, was arrested. While under investigation gave testimony about other dissidents. During trial, pleaded guilty to “anti-Soviet agitation” and repented. In 1973 spoke about his repentance at a televised press conference with Western journalists present. Was handed a three-year prison term which was immediately reduced to the time already served while under investigation, and was exiled to Ryazan. Was allowed to return to Moscow in 1974. Did not take part in the dissident movement since.
Yakovlev, Alexander (Korolevo, USSR, 2 December 1923 - Moscow, 18 October 2005), member of Politburo and Secretariat of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during perestroika. Was considered the intellectual force behind Gorbachev’s reform program.
Yakovlev, Yegor (Moscow, 14 March 1930 - Moscow, 18 September 2005), Soviet journalist, one of the chief supporters of Mikhail Gorbachev’s policy of glasnost. In August 1986 was appointed editor-in-chief of Moscow News. Was the chairman of the All-Soviet Television Company (VGTRK) from 1991 to 1992. In 1993 became publisher of Obschaya Gazeta which he sold in 2002.
Yakunin, Gleb (Moscow, 4 March 1934 - Moscow, 25 December 2014), Russian Orthodox priest and human rights activist, member of the Moscow Helsinki Group, elected member of the Russian parliament 1990-1995. In 1976 created the Christian Committee for the Defense of the Rights of Believers in the USSR. Published several hundreds of articles about the suppression of religious freedom in the Soviet Union. Was arrested and convicted of “anti-Soviet agitation” in 1980. Was kept in the KGB Lefortovo prison until 1985, then sent to labor camp. After release was exiled to Yakutia. Came under amnesty in 1987. In 1992 published materials about the cooperation between the Moscow Patriarchate and the KGB. Published code names of several KGB agents who held high-rank positions in the Russian Orthodox Church. Was excommunicated by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1993. Created the Committee for Defense of Freedom of Conscience in 1995. As parliamentarian, made numerous statements in support of human rights in Russia.
Yeltsin, Boris (Butka Village, USSR, 1 February 1931 - Moscow, 23 April 2007), the first president of the Russian Federation (1991-1999), member of the Soviet communist party (1961-1990), became president of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic in 1990. After dissolution of the USSR in 1991 remained in office as president of Russian Federation. Transformed Russia’s socialist economy into a market economy, conducting nationwide privatization with the majority of national wealth turned over to a small number of oligarchs. Was widely accused of allowing pervasive corruption. In foreign policy favored cooperative relations with the West. Resigned in 1999 after choosing Vladimir Putin as his successor.
Yevtushenko, Yevgeny (b. Yevgeny Gangnus, Zima, USSR, 18 July 1932 - d. Tulsa, OK, 1 April 2017), Soviet poet, was politically active during the Khrushchev Thaw, traveled extensively abroad during Soviet restrictions on foreign travel, was allowed to mildly criticize the Soviet regime, sustained multiple accusations of duplicity and collaborating with the Soviet regime from peers and contemporaries. Since 2007 taught at the University of Tulsa (Oklahoma) and City University of New York, dividing his time between the US and Russia.
Zhirinovsky, Vladimir (b. Vladimir Eidelstein in Almat-Ata, USSR, 25 April 1946), Soviet and Russian politician known for confrontational style and populist, nationalist, anti-Western rhetoric. In 1991 co-founded the Liberal Democratic Party which, according to the former Politburo member Alexander Yakovlev, was a joint project of the Soviet communist party and the KGB. Zhirinovsky’s party continues to fulfill the role of sham opposition to the current Russian government.
Zinoviev, Alexander (Chukhlomsky District, USSR, 29 October 1922 - Moscow, 10 May 2006), logician and writer of social critique. In the 1970s criticized the Soviet political system, emigrated to West Germany in 1978, ceased to criticize communism at the start of perestroika, spoke in defense of some aspects of the Soviet regime, condemned reforms initiated by Yeltsin, considered Joseph Stalin one of the greatest figures in history. Returned to Russia in 1999.
Zhivago, Yuri, a fictional character in Boris Pasternak’s novel Doctor Zhivago, a doctor and a poet, idealistic, sensitive and indecisive.
Zhivkov, Todor (Pravets, Bulgaria, 7 September 1911 - Sofia, Bulgaria, 5 August 1998), Communist leader of Bulgaria 1954-1989. Submitted Bulgaria to the Soviet directives, contributed to its economic stagnation and growing corruption in the party, punished dissidents and human rights activists. In 1963 and in 1973 made requests for Bulgaria be incorporated into the USSR. Resigned following riots resulting in multiple deaths.
Zorkin, Valery (b. Konstantinovka, USSR, 18 February 1943), Russian judge, the first and the current Chairman of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation. In 1993 disputed the legality of Boris Yeltsin’s decision to dissolve the Supreme Soviet of Russia. Was subsequently forced to resign as Chairman but remained the Constitutional Court judge. Late in 1993 was dismissed as judge but reinstated in 1994 after being cautioned against pursuing political actives. Was re-elected the court's chairman in 2003.
© 2018 Alissa Ordabai