Zinoviev, Alexander 1922-2006

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Zinoviev, Alexander 1922-2006
(Alexander Aleksandrovich Zinoviev)


See index for CA sketch: Born October 29, 1922, in Pakhtino, Russia; died May 10, 2006, in Moscow, Russia. Educator, philosopher, and author. Zinoviev was a philosopher-turned-literary satirist who was both critical of the former U.S.S.R.'s communist regime and a fiercely loyal nationalist. An intelligent young man born of peasant-class parents in czarist Russia, he would attend Moscow University as a philosophy student. But his questioning mind got him in trouble with the communists when he criticized Stalin. The result was that he was sent to a psychiatric institution, though he was completely sane. Next, he was transferred to a farm collective and "re-educated." This apparently worked, for Zinoviev was allowed to enlist in the Soviet army in 1941 and become a fighter pilot. Demonstrating great heroism during World War II in Czechoslovakia, Stalingrad, and Berlin, he received military decorations and left the service a war hero. Returning to his studies at Moscow University, her earned a doctorate in logic in 1954 with a thesis on the philosophy of Karl Marx. A Communist Party member and member of the Academy of Science of the U.S.S.R., he joined the Moscow University faculty and was made a professor of logic in 1962. He became a leading authority on mathematical logic and the philosophy of science, and was internationally respected for writing such books as Philosophical Problems of Many-valued Logic (1963) and Foundations of the Logical Theory of Scientific Knowledge (1973). Nevertheless, Zinoviev became frustrated by the stale atmosphere of Soviet academia that discouraged original thinking, and he reverted to his old role as dissenter. Penning the political satire Yawning Heights (1979; originally published in Russian in 1976), he satirized the Soviet Union so fiercely that he was given the choice of either being exiled to Siberia or to the West. Zinoviev chose a move to Germany, where he taught at the University of Munich and continued to write satires and other tracts against the communists, such as The Reality of Communism (1984) and Katastroika (1990). After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Zinoviev was invited to return to his homeland, which he eventually did in 1994. He became a lecturer at Moscow University and, interestingly, would come to praise the Stalin era that sent him to a mental hospital as being a time when Russia was at its strongest and most independent. He also was a supporter of Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, a communist who was considered a genocidal criminal by the international community. While it might be difficult to reconcile these contradicting sides to Zinoviev, they can be attributed to the love of his homeland that he maintained throughout his life.



Chicago Tribune, May 12, 2006, section 3, p. 9.

Los Angeles Times, May 15, 2006, p. B11.

New York Times, May 15, 2006, p. A23.

Times (London, England), May 16, 2006, p. 56.

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Zinoviev, Alexander 1922-2006

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