Intimacy And Terror

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The result of a unique international collaborative investigation by Russian, French, and Swiss scholars into hundreds of private, unpublished diaries found in remote libraries, archives, and family holdings, Intimacy and Terror paints a broad picture of Russian life during the harshest years of Stalin’s reign. The ten diaries reveal the day-to-day thoughts of ordinary citizens, some far removed from political turmoil, some closely enmeshed. Together they paint an extraordinarily broad portrait of Russian life in the thirties; their insights into the daily life of that time have astonished even the Russian historians who read the original manuscripts. The diarists range from the ambitious literary bureaucrat who moves forward by denouncing his colleagues to the young unlettered careerist learning the ways of Soviet success; from the wife of a government bureaucrat, who writes in a pure Stalinist prose, to the candid thoughts and uncertainties of a dissident; from a provincial sailor on a distant Arctic vessel to Moscow intellectuals who meet and recount their conversations with Anna Akhmatova. Some of the diarists are wholly oblivious to the terrors of Stalin's purges; others see the failures of the regime as clearly as those writing today.

To set the diaries in context, the book begins with a “Chronicle of the Year 1937”—an extraordinary montage comprised of excerpts from the daily newspaper Izvestiya juxtaposed with corresponding entries from am collective farmer’s diary—and also includes a chronology of major events in the Soviet Union during the latter half of the decade. The diaries bring us the true-life counterparts of characters we remember from classic Russian literature. Intimacy and Terror provides an unprecedented, intimate view of daily life in Russia at the height of Stalinism.

A unique international collaborative investigation by Russian, French, and Swiss scholars, Intimacy and Terror reveals for the first time the private lives of a broad cross-section of Russians during the harshest years of Stalin's purge--not merely the now-familiar stories of those who were deported or killed. 10 photos.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Compelling and fascinating. . . The title of this book cannot accurately convey its cumulative power." &#8212Boston Book Review

"Soviet history in a new key. . . A rare and extraordinary portrait of Soviet society in a critical decade, comprising fear, bravery, bathos, tragedy, and even humor—in sum, the broad range of human responses to inhumanity." &#8212Kirkus Reviews

"Eloquent. . . . An impressive collection of personal diaries written in the Soviet Union during the harshest years of Joseph Stalin's rule." &#8212Wilson Quarterly

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This interesting anthology of 10 Soviet diaries from the 1930s mixes voices of protest and despair with those of people who seemingly accommodated themselves to Stalinist oppression. Lyubov Shaporina, founder of the Puppet Theater, expresses moral outrage at the wave of arrests and mass deportations sweeping Leningrad, mingled with grief at the death of her little daughter three years earlier. Andrei Arzhilovsky, a farmer killed by a firing squad in 1937, offers a scathing critique of the Soviet regime's monstrous crimes in diary excerpts dated 1936-1937. Moscow poet Lev Gornung records literary chitchat with Anna Akhmatova. With self-conscious lyricism, Vladimir Stavsky, editor of the journal Novy mir and general secretary of the Union of Soviet Writers, evokes his inner turmoil but neglects to mention his denunciation of Osip Mandelshtam, which led to the poet's arrest and to his death in a labor camp. Among the other diarists are a struggling mother of four and a Moscow actor who murdered his lover. Garros is former Moscow correspondent for Le Monde; Lahusen, a Slavic professor at Duke; Korenevskaya, a scholar with Progress Publishers in Moscow. Photos. (Nov.)
Library Journal
To make more known of the everyday lives of most Soviet citizens during the Stalinist purges of the 1930s, a group of international scholars collaborated in locating and selecting nine private diaries to publish in this anthology. An introductory chapter chronicles events of 1937 from the government newspaper Izvestiya. The diarists speak for themselves: a traveler to the Soviet Far East, a Moscow poet, a farmer resistant to the regime, a mother and community activist, a party journalist and editor, a mining engineer, a party functionary, a sympathizer of the traditional intelligentsia, and an actor. The accounts span a broad range of experience, class, geography, and point of view-and achieve the editors' aims. This carefully chosen and edited anthology belongs in collections of Soviet history and literature.-Rena Fowler, Humboldt State Univ., Arcata, Cal.
Ten previously unpublished diaries, by bureaucrats, workers, dissidents, and intellectuals, reveal the private lives of a cross- section of Russians during the Stalinist purge. Excerpts from the daily newspaper Izvestiya juxtaposed with entries from a collective farmer's diary chronicle the year 1937. Of interest to general readers and students of history. No index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565843981
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 9/1/1997
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 0.93 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 6.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Véronique Garros, formerly a Moscow contributor to Le Monde, has been researching Russian life in the 1930s for the National Center for Scientific Research.

Natalia Korenevskaya is a writer and scholar living in Moscow, where she works for Progress Publishers.

Thomas Lahusen is a professor of Slavic languages and literature at Duke University, specializing in Soviet literature and culture of the 1930s and 40s.

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Table of Contents

Editors' Introduction
Translator's Note
Chronology 1
Chronicle of the Year 1937 as Recorded by the Newspaper Izvestiya and Collective Farmer Ignat Danilovich Frolov 11
Diary of Fyodor Efimovich Shirnov 67
Diary of Lev Vladimirovich Gornung 99
Diary of Andrei Stepanovich Arzhilovsky 111
Diary of Galina Vladimirovna Shtange 167
Diary of Vladimir Petrovich Stavsky 219
Diary of Leonid Mekseyevich Potyomkin 251
Diary of Stepan Filippovich Podlubny 293
Diary of Lyubov Vasilievna Shaporina 333
Diary of Oleg Nikolaevich Frelikh 383
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