Pavel Litvinov
Pavel Litvinov is 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 physicist, writer, human rights activist and former Soviet-era 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....

. He is the grandson of Maxim Litvinov
Maxim Litvinov
Maxim Maximovich Litvinov was a Russian revolutionary and prominent Soviet diplomat.- Early life and first exile :...

, Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

's foreign minister during the 1930s, and as such was born and raised amongst the Soviet elite. As a schoolboy, he was devoted to the cult of Stalin, and was tapped, unsuccessfully, by the KGB
The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

 to report on his parents Flora and Misha Litvinov (a story that is related by the journalist David Remnick
David Remnick
David Remnick is an American journalist, writer, and magazine editor. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for his book Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire. Remnick has been editor of The New Yorker magazine since 1998. He was named "Editor of the Year" by Advertising Age in 2000...

 in his book Lenin's Tomb
Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire
Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire is a bestselling work by David Remnick. Often cited as an example of New Journalism, it won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1994....


After Stalin's death in 1953 and the return of family friends from the labour camps, Pavel grew disillusioned with the Soviet system. He had a short-lived marriage when he was 17. While in his 20s, he became a physics teacher at the Institute for Chemical Technology and fell in with a group of intellectuals who were following the show-trials of the dissidents Andrei Sinyavsky
Andrei Sinyavsky
Andrei Donatovich Sinyavsky was a Russian writer, dissident, political prisoner, emigrant, Professor of Sorbonne University, magazine founder and publisher...

 and 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:...

. His immersion in samizdat
Samizdat was a key form of dissident activity across the Soviet bloc in which individuals reproduced censored publications by hand and passed the documents from reader to reader...

 literature at this time brought him into contact with the works of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn was aRussian and Soviet novelist, dramatist, and historian. Through his often-suppressed writings, he helped to raise global awareness of the Gulag, the Soviet Union's forced labor camp system – particularly in The Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of...

, Varlam Shalamov
Varlam Shalamov
Varlam Tikhonovich Shalamov , baptized as Varlaam, was a Russian writer, journalist, poet and Gulag survivor.-Early life:Varlam Shalamov was born in Vologda, Vologda Governorate, a Russian city with a rich culture famous for its wooden architecture, to a family of a hereditary Russian Orthodox...

 and Robert Conquest
Robert Conquest
George Robert Ackworth Conquest CMG is a British historian who became a well-known writer and researcher on the Soviet Union with the publication in 1968 of The Great Terror, an account of Stalin's purges of the 1930s...


He participated in the 1968 Red Square demonstration
1968 Red Square demonstration
The 1968 Red Square demonstration took place on August 25, 1968 at Red Square, Moscow, Soviet Union, to protest the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies, that occurred during the night of 20–21 August 1968, crushing the so-called Prague spring, a set of...

 against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

 (see Prague Spring
Prague Spring
The Prague Spring was a period of political liberalization in Czechoslovakia during the era of its domination by the Soviet Union after World War II...

), that had taken place four days earlier. Among the others were Larisa Bogoraz
Larisa Bogoraz
Larisa Iosifovna Bogoraz was a dissident in the Soviet Union....

, a philologist, Natalya Gorbanevskaya
Natalya Gorbanevskaya
Natalya Yevgenyevna Gorbanevskaya is a Russian poet, translator of Polish literature and civil rights activist. She is also a citizen of Poland.- Life :Gorbanevskaya graduated from Leningrad University in 1964 and became a technical editor and translator...

, a poet, Vadim Delaunay
Vadim Delaunay
Vadim Nikolaevich Delaunay was a Russian poet and dissident, who participated in the1968 Red Square demonstration of protest against military suppression of the Prague Spring.- Biography :...

, poet, and Viktor Fainberg
Viktor Fainberg
Viktor Isaakovich Fainberg is a philologist, prominent figure of the dissident movement in the Soviet Union, participant of the 1968 Red Square demonstration, and fighter against punitive psychiatry....

, an art critic. They raised banners in Czech and Russian, expressing support of the Czechoslovak independence and solidarity with Alexander Dubček
Alexander Dubcek
Alexander Dubček , also known as Dikita, was a Slovak politician and briefly leader of Czechoslovakia , famous for his attempt to reform the communist regime during the Prague Spring...

, the Czechoslovak leader who was the architect of the Prague Spring
Prague Spring
The Prague Spring was a period of political liberalization in Czechoslovakia during the era of its domination by the Soviet Union after World War II...


The KGB promptly arrested the protesters, and their trial was held that October. Litvinov was sentenced to five years' exile in Chita, Zabaykalsky Krai, Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...


In 1974, after his return from exile, he and his wife Maya left the Soviet Union to Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 by train
A train is a connected series of vehicles for rail transport that move along a track to transport cargo or passengers from one place to another place. The track usually consists of two rails, but might also be a monorail or maglev guideway.Propulsion for the train is provided by a separate...

 and from there to Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 until they moved to United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Litvinov currently lives in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, where he taught physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

 and mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

 at the Hackley School
Hackley School
Hackley School is a private college preparatory school located in Tarrytown, New York and is a member of the Ivy Preparatory School League. Founded in 1899 by wealthy philanthropist Mrs. Caleb Brewster Hackley, Hackley was intended to be a Unitarian alternative to the mostly Episcopal boarding...

 in Tarrytown
Tarrytown, New York
Tarrytown is a village in the town of Greenburgh in Westchester County, New York, United States. It is located on the eastern bank of the Hudson River, about north of midtown Manhattan in New York City, and is served by a stop on the Metro-North Hudson Line...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 from 1976 until his retirement in 2006.

In 2005 Pavel Litvinov participated in "They Chose Freedom
They Chose Freedom
They Chose Freedom is a four-part TV documentary on the history of political dissent in the USSR from the 1950s to the 1990s. It was produced in 2005 by Vladimir V...

", a four-part television documentary on the history of the Soviet dissident movement.

Pavel Litvinov is a son-in-law of the dissident and literary scholar Lev Kopelev
Lev Kopelev
Lev Zalmanovich Kopelev was a Soviet author and a dissident.- Biography :...


External links

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