Amalrik, Andrei Alexeyevich

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(19381980), Russian political activist, dissident, publicist, playwright, exiled to Siberia from 1965 to 1966 and imprisoned in labor camps from 1970 to 1976.

Born in Moscow, Amalrik studied history at Moscow University; he was expelled in 1963 for a paper featuring unorthodox views on Kievan Rus. Amalrik wrote several absurdist plays such as Moya tetya zhivet v Volokolamske (My Aunt Lives in Volokolamsk), Vostok-Zapad (East-West), and Nos! Nos? No-s! (The Nose! The Nose? The No-se!), the latter referring to Gogol's famous short story. In 1965, Amalrik was arrested for lacking official employment ("parasitism") and charges that hisyet unpublishedplays were "anti-Soviet and pornographic."

Exiled to Siberia for two and a half years, he was released in 1966 and subsequently described his experiences in Nezhelannoye puteshestvie v Sibir (Involuntary Journey to Siberia, 1970). Amalrik's essay Prosushchestvuyet li Sovetsky Soyuz do 1984 goda? (Will the Soviet Union Survive Until 1984?), an astute and prophetic analysis of Soviet society's dim prospects for the future, brought him worldwide fame. It was completed in 1969, published the same year by the Herzen Foundation in Amsterdam, and translated into many languages. As a result, Amalrik was put on trial and sentenced to three years in Siberian camps, with another three years added in 1973. Protests in the West led to a commutation of the sentence from hard labor to exile and ultimately to permission to leave the Soviet Union in 1976. In the West, Amalrik was involved in numerous human rights initiatives.

In 1980, Amalrik died in a car crash in Guadalajara, Spain. He was legally rehabilitated in 1991.

See also: dissident movement


Keep, John. (1971). "Andrei Amalrik and 1984." Russian Review 30:335345.

Svirski, Grigori. (1981). A History of Post-War Soviet Writing: The Literature of Moral Opposition. Ann Arbor: Ardis.

Peter Rollberg