Synopses & Reviews
Having returned to Russia in 1990 after two decades, the writer known as Abram Tertz creates a vivid picture of today's Russian intelligentsia and its role as conscience and critic since the fall of communism, as well as a chilling portrait of economic and political stagnation under Yeltsin.
In 1990, after the fall of Soviet communism, Andrei Sinyavsky went home to Russia. In exile for nearly two decades, the writer known as Abram Tertz had suffered prison and oppression for liberating both the writer and reader from the constraints of totalitarianism. The Russian Intelligentsia is the record of an exile's return - both a riveting chronicle of poverty, crime, and corruption and a passionate call for Russian intellectuals to rearm in a new struggle for freedom and democracy. Sinyavsky creates a vivid picture of today's Russian intelligentsia and its role as conscience and critic since the fall of communism in 1989, as well as a chilling portrait of economic and political stagnation under Yeltsin. He revisits the historically troubled relationship of the Russian intelligentsia and the "masses" for whom it has traditionally spoken. Drawing striking parallels to the role of intellectuals under the czar, he finds that contemporary writers and artists have lost touch with popular interests. Having abandoned Gorbachev, the hero of perestroika, the Russian intelligentsia turned to Yeltsin and supported his crushing of the October 1993 coup out of fear of "communist" or "fascist" threats from below. The collapse of the well-ordered Soviet cosmos has created new classes of privileged apparatchiks including former exiles and dissidents and new forms of suffering for the poor. The Russian Intelligentsia, a brilliant and passionate polemic that ranks with the fiercest Sinyavsky has written, reasserts the power of free thought and critical understanding in a society grappling with democratic reform.
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