Little `openness' for Soviets in West. Glasnost and 'emigr'e writers
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Nor has Dimitry Savitsky, who was an underground poet in Moscow and has written four books since he went to Paris in 1979. (His first book in English translation, tentatively titled ``From Nowhere with Love,'' is forthcoming from Grove Press.)Skip to next paragraph
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He, too, wants his books to circulate in the Soviet Union, because he feels it is important for a writer to be understood in his own language. But he doubts that this is likely; he admits his writings are ``strongly anti-Soviet.'' Yet he insists that there is no reason not to publish living 'emigr'e writers.
``What's the big deal in publishing Pasternak?'' Savitsky asked. ``If you want to talk freedom, let's publish Sinyavsky! Let's publish Limonov! Brodsky! This will not hurt them [the Soviets].''
Though Savitsky does perceive a new determination in those fighting for change, he notes that the state propaganda machinery is still pushing ideology and slogans. This suggests a paradox about the new people in power, the new establishment. Though they talk about reform - and many of them, even the former old guard, do talk about it - ``They are still talking from the position of people who monopolize the truth,'' he said.
ALTHOUGH Vladimir Voinovich, author of the recent satire ``Moscow 2042,'' notes that some significant changes have occurred in literature, he points out that vast amounts of it remain suppressed. He said, ``I hope they understand that it is impossible to have perestroika without the rehabilitation of all writers. If there are any forbidden names, there is not complete glasnost.''
Perhaps if there is too much glasnost, he says, literature will be subject to real market competition, where the reader's opinion is what sells a book.
Voinovich, famous for his satires on the Soviet system, concluded, ``If they publish too many banned writers, many Soviet writers will be unemployed. Who will want to read them?''
Vassily Aksyonov, who recently published ``In Search of Melancholy Baby,'' recounted his own recent publication in the Soviet Union. Moscow News ran a letter from several 'emigr'es, Aksyonov among them. This was proclaimed as an act of great openness. He says, though, that the Soviets used it to their profit, launching a ``hysterical campaign against the authors, denouncing them as enemies, made in a flat-out Stalinist fashion.''
Though he would not be surprised if 'emigr'es and other different voices were published in the future, for the time being, Askyonov says it's impossible. He adds, ``For me, glasnost doesn't mean openness, it means loquaciousness. They are simply more talkative.''
Brodsky is well known in the US for his poetry and for ``Less Than One,'' a collection of essays published last year (a new book of poems called ``To Urania'' is in press). Brodsky admits to a hope that there is a grand design behind these new policies.
He calls Gorbachev a ``kind of Rousseavian dream come true,'' an enlightened despot with the ``machinery at his disposal to make life more substantial - even create a new order of civilization - in the midst of a doomed system.'' Perhaps through literature, Gorbachev can enlighten the people. Gorbachev might believe that people will fare better if they've read everything he has read, Brodsky explains.
Brodsky's poetry is also well known in the Soviet Union without being officially published.
For the moment, Brodsky is not terribly concerned about being published there. ``Real freedom,'' he says, ``is when a publisher publishes what will be good and profitable.''