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Soviet System

January 7, 1990 | Andrei Benyuch and Leonid Florentiev, two staff writers for Krokodil, the Soviet humor magazine. These are excerpts, translated by Vladimir Simonov, from that interview
O ne's grandfather became general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and ruler of the country. The other's father helped develop the hydrogen bomb and became the most internationally celebrated Soviet dissident. In the end, the grandfather, Leonid I. Brezhnev, sent the father, Andrei D. Sakharov, into exile in Gorky.
December 31, 2009 | By Megan K. Stack
For five years, as the world convulsed with war, the unassuming Soviet couple rubbed elbows with the likes of Walt Disney and Orson Welles. They took in a private screening of "The Great Dictator," at the invitation of Charlie Chaplin. Their son's earliest memories are set in Los Angeles -- the yellow house nestled in flower beds with a view of the Griffith Observatory; the animal crackers bought with the proceeds of a sidewalk lemonade stand; the author Theodore Dreiser drinking so much vodka that he crawled under the table.
July 27, 1986 | JOHN FEINSTEIN, The Washington Post
From the outside, it is unprepossessing--a dingy, aging, rundown building. But inside can be found at least part of the secret of the Soviet Union's extraordinary success in sports. The building houses the Soviet Institute of Physical Education and Culture, and it has existed in Moscow since 1918.
November 2, 2009 | Megan K. Stack
When Russian businessman Yevgeny Ostrovsky decided to name his kebab joint Anti-Soviet Shashlik, he thought of it as black humor. It was a little tongue-in-cheek, a little retro, a little nod to the old-timers who still remembered when the meat grill, across the street from the famed Sovietsky hotel, was known by just that nickname. But it was also, in that ambiguous, extrajudicial way so common in today's Russia, a little bit illegal. Three applications for an "anti-Soviet" sign were rejected by the city without explanation.
July 22, 1986 | United Press International
A group of senior Soviet Communist Party and government officials has issued an underground manifesto in Moscow indicting the Soviet system and calling for a loosening of party monopoly and freedom of speech and press, the Guardian newspaper said today. The criticisms mentioned the flagging Soviet economy and the "hopeless war" in Afghanistan.
October 2, 1991 | ROGER MORRIS, Roger Morris, who served on the staff of the National Security Council under Presidents Johnson and Nixon, was one of the first Americans to study as an exchange scholar at the Soviet Academy of Sciences.
It was in June, 1988, that Mikhail S. Gorbachev summoned a historic conference of the Soviet Communist Party. The gathering voted to allow within months the first free elections in the Soviet Union, and unleashed a revolution from the Siberian coal mines to the Berlin Wall. Just 39 months separate that fateful meeting in Moscow from George Bush's dramatic speech last Friday night on redeployment and reduction of America's nuclear arsenal.
You know a town is tough when even the soup kitchens get shaken down for bribes. Alexander I. Ogorodnikov, a dissident in Soviet days and now head of one of Russia's few charitable organizations, complains that money-hungry bureaucrats continuously harass his soup kitchen because he refuses to pay them off. Under the guise of "unsanitary conditions," authorities have permanently shut down four of Ogorodnikov's five kitchens and temporarily closed the remaining one several times.
May 22, 1988 | Lee Congdon, Congdon writes frequently on the history of Marxism and communism. He is the author of "The Young Lukacs" (University of North Carolina Press). and
Ask the emigre Russian historian Mikhail Heller how best to gain an understanding of the Soviet Union and he will tell you to begin by reading Evgenii Zamyatin's "We" and George Orwell's "1984." For unlike so many of the scholarly studies that Kremlinologists produce, these anti-utopian novels take seriously the Bolsheviks' oft-stated intention to transform human nature, to create a compliant, collectivized New Man: Homo sovieticus.
February 19, 1987 | Associated Press
A Soviet sailor who told Swedish police he did not like the Soviet system defected when his ship's crew was allowed ashore for shopping, police said Wednesday. Police spokesman Arne Jarhede said the man, 28, has a wife and 3-year-old son in the Soviet Union. His name was not given, but authorities said he is from Leningrad and was aboard the Soviet vessel Sibirsky, which arrived here Feb. 10.
March 5, 2009 | Megan K. Stack
The state television center looms like a Soviet phantom from the winter mists of Moscow, a drab, massive relic that nobody has bothered to renovate. The facade is faded, but the corridors inside hum with young careerists making bright, government-sanctioned television for broadcast to all 11 Russian time zones. Vladimir Pozner, remodeled Soviet relic in his own right, strides the shining hallways, a television superstar with sharp-cut clothes, gleaming head and quick, fox-like darts of the eye.
September 19, 2004 | Timothy Jacobs, Associated Press Writer
After the ill-tempered guard clanged the cell door shut, the darkness was enveloping and complete. Then lights flashed and a voice barked: "Face the wall! Hands behind your back!" In the room, under pictures of Lenin and Stalin, a stern-faced Soviet army officer sat hunched over a desk, smoking. "What are you doing in a restricted military zone?" he demanded. So began an unusual Latvian exercise in retro-chic: a night in a Soviet-era slammer. Each weekend, about 25 people pay 5 Lats ($9.
July 27, 2003 | David Holley, Times Staff Writer
Museum director Irina Antonova, reflecting on a career marked by frequent battles at the intersection of art and politics, was discussing the final years of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin when there was a knock at the door of her office -- and in walked Gina Lollobrigida. The women chatted briefly about sculptures made by the Italian actress, mostly of herself in movie roles, that the museum displayed this summer in a bit of profile-raising populism by the scholarly but savvy Antonova.
March 9, 2003 | Anthony Kuhn, Special to The Times
Signaling a shift toward a Western liberal arts system, China's top universities are introducing changes to give students a broader education and more freedom to choose their majors. The shift also heralds the gradual dismantling of China's Soviet-style education system, which was designed to meet the needs of the state rather than the individual.
Of the millions of people suppressed by Soviet power since 1917, dissident writer Lev Timofeyev was among the last. Taken from his home a few days after Mikhail S. Gorbachev assumed the helm of the Communist Party in 1985, the critic of Soviet economics was tried, convicted and eventually transported to the infamous Perm 36, a Ural Mountains labor colony for political prisoners. He traveled in a rail car that was packed so tightly he was infested with huge body lice by the time he arrived.
Steven Dunning's touching and incisive "Now Chinatown" screens tonight at 7:30 as part of the American Cinematheque's bimonthly Alternative Screen series at the Egyptian. In the film, the demure, wistful Lee (Lianne X. Hu) has been sent by her parents to Los Angeles to work at a family friend's modest Chinatown restaurant to help support an ailing grandmother back in China.
May 23, 1985
The Soviet reply to President Reagan's contention that the Soviet Union intends to build a nuclear force designed for first-strike use was characteristically feeble. According to The Times (May 9), "A greater absurdity is difficult to imagine," was the reaction of a Tass news writer. I would say there is at least one absurdity harder to imagine--the Soviet system itself, which has transformed absurdity into a reality! It is indeed difficult for us to imagine what truly goes on within the closed Soviet society and within the minds of Soviet officials.
March 16, 1993
I can't believe after all that has come out about Soviet genocide, repression and disastrous economic conditions over the 50 years following World War II that Hough still doesn't get it. The nations that declared independence from the Soviet Union used nationalism as a means, rather than an end, to achieve the simple human rights, which we in the Western World take so much for granted. The miserable conditions they are enduring today are more a result of the closed economy engendered by the Soviet system than of any sanctions imposed by Russia today.
September 19, 2000 | RANDY HARVEY
Lenny Krayzelburg is on top of the world, standing on the highest pedestal of the medals podium at the Summer Olympics, listening to the "Star-Spangled Banner" and thinking about all the sacrifices his parents made--moving from Ukraine 11 years ago to Studio City to escape religious persecution and give their children more opportunities. Like the one he had Monday night at the Sydney International Aquatic Center.
July 6, 2000
Gustaw Herling-Grudzinski, 81, a Polish emigre writer who survived a Soviet Gulag and criticized the Soviet system. Born in the Polish village of Skrzelczyce, he was arrested by the Soviets in March 1940 and imprisoned in a labor camp. He escaped in 1942 and joined the Polish forces that fought at Monte Cassino, Italy. Herling-Grudzinski was one of the first writers to publicize Soviet atrocities in a post-World War II era when most critics of totalitarianism concentrated on fascism.
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