Biography Andrei Amalrik

(12/05/1938 – 11/12/1980)

Amalrik Andrey Alekseevich (12/05/1938, Moscow – 12.11.1980, Guadalajara, Spain). The son of the famous historian and archaeologist A. S. Amalrik. In 1962-1963 – a student of the historical faculty of Moscow State University, was expelled for coursework, in which he defended the “Norman version” of the emergence of Russian statehood, which was rejected by official Soviet science. Acquired fame as a collector of Soviet avant-garde artists, in this capacity he met with a number of foreign diplomats and journalists. He composed plays in the spirit of the “theater of the absurd”; The collection of these plays was later published abroad, and one of them (“East-West”) was on the stage of the Amsterdam Globe Theater.
Arrested on May 14, 1965, convicted by the Frunzensky district court of Moscow (28.05.1965) for “antisocial way of life” for two and a half years of exile, which he served in the Tomsk region. 06/20/1966 verdict was reviewed by the Supreme Court of the RSFSR, and A. was released from serving his sentence. After returning to Moscow, he described his life in exile in the book “Unwanted journey to Siberia.” After his release he worked as a freelancer for the Novosti Press Agency.
The first among the dissidents began to constantly communicate with foreign correspondents (in memoirs he wrote that he played the role of a kind of “liaison officer” between dissident circles and foreign journalists). However, initially these contacts were simply a form of nonconformist behavior: “I wanted to visit foreigners and invite them to my place, to behave with them as if we are people like them, and they are the same people as we suggested in fact a whole revolution. ” After the “trial of the four” [6], he tried to organize a press conference for foreign correspondents with the relatives of the convicts-apparently the first attempt to hold such a press conference (it was thwarted by the KGB). He was interested in the situation of foreign journalists in the USSR and the reasons, prevented them from engaging in the performance of their direct duties; subsequently wrote about this article “Foreign correspondents in Moscow” (see in his collection 1971 “Articles and Letters”).
Since June 1968 he helped Pavel Litvinov in the preparation of the collection “The Process of Four”; after the arrest of P. Litvinov completed work on the collection and in October 1968 he handed it to foreign correspondents. He was among those who participated in the transfer to the West of the manuscript of A. Sakharov’s work “Reflections on Progress, Peaceful Coexistence and Intellectual Freedom.”
07/16/1968, together with his wife, arranged for the British embassy to protest against the British assistance to the central government of Nigeria in the civil war against the self-proclaimed republic of Biafra.
At the end of 1968 the Press Agency “News” refused A.’s services, and he got a job as a postman.
He was a supporter of the transition to organized forms of independent civil and political activity. In the spring of 1969 he proposed the creation of the “Soviet Democratic Movement” and even composed a draft appeal.
In April-June 1969, on the proposal of a familiar American journalist, A. wrote an essay “Will the Soviet Union exist before 1984?”, Which formulates its concept of the near future of the USSR. A. skeptically assesses the stability of the Soviet regime, but he also looks extremely pessimistic about the hypothetical post-Soviet future. He doubts the possibility of a democratic transformation of the country, citing as an argument the weakness of the existing liberal-democratic opposition. His considerations A. reinforces the analysis of the number, social composition and spectrum of ideological preferences of participants in the protest campaign of 1968.
This work, published abroad in late 1969 and translated... into many foreign languages, brought A. world fame. The unusually sharp formulation of the problem, expressed in the title, combined with the analytical, emphatically academic style of presentation, reproducing (and perhaps partly parodic) Western Sovietological treatises, all of this singled it out from the usual samizdat publicism of those years. The work caused a lot of feedback in the foreign press and a stormy polemic in samizdat.
A. is the author of several more samizdat articles, of which the already mentioned “Foreign correspondents in Moscow” (spring 1970) and “The Open Letter to Anatoly Kuznetsov” (1.11.1969) – the response to public statements of a well-known Soviet writer who became in 1969 “defector”, that in the USSR there is no freedom completely. A. objects to this: the guarantee of external freedom is “internal freedom, under which much power can do to a person, but not to deprive him of moral values.”
In 1968-1970, A. several times detained and subjected to searches. He was arrested on 21.05.1970 and sent to Sverdlovsk, where the investigation and the court were conducted. The trial was held on 11-12.11.1970. A. The authorship and distribution of their works and interviews were incriminated. The second defendant, Sverdlovsk engineer Lev Ubozhko, was accused of distributing the works of A. Without pleading guilty and refusing to participate in the trial, in the last word A. said: “If the medieval struggle against heretical ideas could be partly explained by religious fanaticism, then everything that is happening now – only by the cowardice of the regime, which sees the danger in the dissemination of any thought, any idea alien to the bureaucratic tops. It is the fear of my thoughts, the facts that I cite in their books, forces these people to put me in the dock as a criminal. This fear comes to the fact that I was even afraid to judge in Moscow and brought here, counting on that here the court will attract less attention to me.
My books will not get any worse from those abusive epithets, as they were awarded here. The views expressed by me will not become less faithful if I am imprisoned for several years for them. On the contrary, it can give my convictions only great strength.
Neither the “witch-hunting” conducted by the regime, nor its particular example – this court – does not cause me the slightest respect, or even fear. I understand, however, that such courts are designed to intimidate many, and many will be intimidated – and yet I think that the process of ideological emancipation that has begun is irreversible. ”
The court sentenced A. under Article 190-1 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR to three He served time in the Novosibirsk and Magadan regions.
On the day of the end of the period of 21.05.1973 the Magadan Prosecutor’s Office instituted a new case against A. on the same article. 07/18/1973 he was sentenced to 3 years in prison. After the announcement of the sentence, he began a hunger strike, which he kept for 117 days. In November 1973 the Supreme Court of the RSFSR replaced the camp for three years of exile.
Served a link in Magadan. 4.12.1973 awarded with the Liberty Prize, awarded by the New York House of Freedom. Returned from Magadan to Moscow in May 1975.
07/15/1976 A. emigrated from the USSR. In the emigration he was actively engaged in public and political activities, published in the magazines “Continent”, “The Ark”, “Syntax” (Paris). He wrote a second book of memoirs of “Notes of a Dissident” (published posthumously in 1982). Killed in a car crash. Buried in Paris at the cemetery of Sainte-Genevieve de Bois.
Zubarev DI, Kuzovkin GV
The materials of the journal UFO


Biography Andrei Amalrik