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Medvedev, Roy Alexandrovich


(b. 1925), dissident historian.

Roy Medvedev is renowned as the author of the monumental dissident history of Stalinism, Let History Judge, first published in English in 1972. The son of a prominent Soviet Marxist scholar who was murdered by Stalin in the 1930s, Medvedev pursued a teaching career before becoming a researcher in the Soviet Academy of Pedagogical Sciences. Nikita Khrushchev's denunciation of Josef V. Stalin at the Twentieth Party Congress (1956) spurred his interest in the Soviet past. Medvedev joined the Communist Party at this time. The further repudiation of Stalin at the Twenty-Second Congress (1961) impelled him to begin writing his anti-Stalinist tome, which was completed in 1968. Fearful that Stalin would be rehabilitated and repression renewed, Medvedev decided to publish it abroad. Let History Judge reflected the dissident thinking that emerged in the 1960s among intellectuals who, like Medvedev, sought a reformed, democratic socialism and a return to Leninism. Meanwhile, his opposition to any rehabilitation of Stalin led to his expulsion from the party. Medvedev was often subject to house arrest and KGB harassment under Leonid Brezhnev, but he managed to publish abroad numerous critical writings on Soviet history and politics. The liberalization under Mikhail Gorbachev allowed publication of a new edition of Let History Judge and Medvedev's return to the party and political life. The demise of the Soviet Union and the Communist Party allowed him to found a new socialist party and continue as a prolific, critical writer on Russian political life.

See also: de-stalinization; dissident movement


Medvedev, Roy. (1972). Let History Judge: The Origins and Consequences of Stalinism, ed. David Joravsky, tr. Colleen Taylor. London: Macmillan.

Medvedev, Roy. (1989). Let History Judge: The Origins and Consequences of Stalinism, rev. and expanded edition, ed. and tr. George Shriver. New York: Oxford University Press.

Roger D. Markwick

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