June 01, 1996

Hostage of the Revolution



After Lenin and Stalin, no personality was as venerated in the USSR as the writer Maxim Gorky,  founder of socialist realism, who died 60 years ago this June. The list of landmarks and locations named for him is lengthy: a famous park, theater and street in Moscow (in his lifetime, no less), Russia’s third largest city, a film studio. But far from a ‘pet’ of the Communist regime, Gorky, the ‘stormy petrel of the revolution,’ also condemned the revolution early on as a ‘cruel experiment’ with the Russian people ‘doomed to failure.’ Valentina Kolesnikova here traces the fascinating, often controversial, story of his life.

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