Andrei Sinyavsky
Andrei Donatovich Sinyavsky (Russian language
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

: Андрей Донатович Синявский) (8 October 1925, Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

 – 25 February 1997, Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

) was a Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n writer, dissident
A dissident, broadly defined, is a person who actively challenges an established doctrine, policy, or institution. When dissidents unite for a common cause they often effect a dissident movement....

, political prisoner, emigrant, Professor of Sorbonne University, magazine founder and publisher. He frequently wrote under the pseudonym
A pseudonym is a name that a person assumes for a particular purpose and that differs from his or her original orthonym...

  (Abram Tertz).

During a time of extreme censorship in the Soviet Union
Censorship in the Soviet Union
Censorship in the Soviet Union was pervasive and strictly enforced.Censorship was performed in two main directions:*State secrets were handled by Main Administration for Safeguarding State Secrets in the Press was in charge of censoring all publications and broadcasting for state...

, Sinyavsky published his novels in the West under a pseudonym. The historical Abram Tertz was a Jewish gangster
A gangster is a criminal who is a member of a gang. Some gangs are considered to be part of organized crime. Gangsters are also called mobsters, a term derived from mob and the suffix -ster....

 from Russia's past, Sinyavsky himself was not Jewish; his father, Donat Sinyavsky, was a Russian nobleman from Syzran
Syzran is the third largest city in Samara Oblast, Russia, located on the right bank of Saratov Reservoir of the Volga River. Population: It was founded in 1683 as a fortress, and was granted town status in 1796. One tower from the 17th-century fortress still stands...

, who turned Social Revolutionary and was arrested (after the revolution) several times as an "enemy of the people". During his last stay in jail Donat Sinyavsky became ill, and, after his release, developed mental illness. Andrei Sinyavsky described his father's experiences in the novel "Goodnight!" Sinyavsky's mother was of a Russian peasant background.

A protege of Boris Pasternak
Boris Pasternak
Boris Leonidovich Pasternak was a Russian language poet, novelist, and literary translator. In his native Russia, Pasternak's anthology My Sister Life, is one of the most influential collections ever published in the Russian language...

, Sinyavsky described the realities of Soviet life in short fiction stories. In 1965, he was arrested, along with fellow-writer and friend Yuli Daniel
Yuli Daniel
Yuli Markovich Daniel was a Soviet dissident writer, poet, translator and political prisoner.He frequently wrote under the pseudonyms Nikolay Arzhak and Yu. Petrov .-Early life and World War II:...

, and tried in the infamous Sinyavsky-Daniel show trial
Sinyavsky-Daniel trial
The Sinyavsky-Daniel trial was a trial against Russian writers Andrei Sinyavsky and Yuli Daniel, which took place in the Supreme Court of the RSFSR in Moscow between September 1965 and February 1966...

. On 14 February 1966, Sinyavsky was sentenced to seven years on charges of "anti-Soviet activity
Anti-Sovietism and Anti-Soviet refer to persons and activities actually or allegedly aimed against the Soviet Union or government power within the Soviet Union.Three different flavors of the usage of the term may be distinguished....

" for the opinions of his fictional characters.

The affair was accompanied by harsh propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 campaign in the Soviet media and was perceived as a sign of demise of the Khrushchev Thaw
Khrushchev Thaw
The Khrushchev Thaw refers to the period from the mid 1950s to the early 1960s, when repression and censorship in the Soviet Union were partially reversed and millions of Soviet political prisoners were released from Gulag labor camps, due to Nikita Khrushchev's policies of de-Stalinization and...


As historian Fred Coleman writes, "Historians now have no difficulty pinpointing the birth of the modern Soviet dissident movement. It began in February 1966 with the trial of Andrei Sinyavsky and Yuli Daniel, two Russian writers who ridiculed the Communist regime in satires smuggled abroad and published under pen names...Little did they realize at the time that they were starting a movement that would help end Communist rule."

Sinyavsky was released in 1971 and allowed to emigrate in 1973 to France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, where he was one of co-founders, together with his wife Maria Rozanova
Maria Rozanova
Maria Vasilievna Rozanova is a publisher, editor, and Soviet-era dissident.Rozanova graduated from the Moscow State University. In the Soviet Union, she worked as a tour guide, and taught at the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography and the Abramtsevo Art College...

 of the Russian-language almanac
An almanac is an annual publication that includes information such as weather forecasts, farmers' planting dates, and tide tables, containing tabular information in a particular field or fields often arranged according to the calendar etc...

Sintaksis: publitsistika, kritika, polemika , was a journal published in Paris in 1978-2001 with Maria Rozanova as chief editor. A total of 37 issues of the journal were published before the journal was discontinued. According to Rozanova, there are no plans to resume publication.-Publications:*...

. He actively contributed to Radio Liberty. He died in 1997 in Fontenay-aux-Roses
Fontenay-aux-Roses is a commune in the southwestern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the center of Paris.École Normale Supérieure was a girls school located in the area....

, near Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...


Sinyavsky was the catalyst for the formation of an important Russian-English translation team: Larissa Volokhonsky and Richard Pevear
Richard Pevear
Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky are a couple that are best known for their collaborative translations. Most of their translations are of works in Russian, but also French, Italian, and Greek. Their translations have been nominated three times and twice won the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club...

, who have translated a number of works by Leo Tolstoy
Leo Tolstoy
Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy was a Russian writer who primarily wrote novels and short stories. Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays. His two most famous works, the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, are acknowledged as two of the greatest novels of all time and a pinnacle of realist...

, Fyodor Dostoyevski, Nikolai Gogol
Nikolai Gogol
Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol was a Ukrainian-born Russian dramatist and novelist.Considered by his contemporaries one of the preeminent figures of the natural school of Russian literary realism, later critics have found in Gogol's work a fundamentally romantic sensibility, with strains of Surrealism...

, Anton Chekhov
Anton Chekhov
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was a Russian physician, dramatist and author who is considered to be among the greatest writers of short stories in history. His career as a dramatist produced four classics and his best short stories are held in high esteem by writers and critics...

, and Mikhail Bulgakov
Mikhail Bulgakov
Mikhaíl Afanásyevich Bulgákov was a Soviet Russian writer and playwright active in the first half of the 20th century. He is best known for his novel The Master and Margarita, which The Times of London has called one of the masterpieces of the 20th century.-Biography:Mikhail Bulgakov was born on...

. Volokhonsky, who was born and raised in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), first visited the United States in the early 1970s and happened across Pevear's Hudson Review article about Sinyavsky. At the time, Pevear believed Sinyavsky was still in a Russian prison; Volokhonsky had just helped him immigrate to Paris. Pevear was surprised and pleased to be mistaken:
"Larissa had just helped Sinyavsky leave Russia," Pevear recalled. "And she let me know that, while I'd said he was still in prison, he was actually in Paris. I was glad to know it."

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