Fatal Half Measures: The Culture of Democracy in the Soviet Union

Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Author, Antonina W. Bouis, Editor Little Brown and Company $21.95 (357p) ISBN 978-0-316-96883-6
This astonishingly rich collection of essays, articles, manifestos and speeches gets off to a slow start, with many incidental pieces addressed to a Soviet audience, and with poet Yevtushenko's self-serving analysis of the poetry of his generation as ``the cradle of glasnost .'' But Yevtushenko, now a congressman from the city of Kharkov, proves himself a tireless, outspoken exponent of democratic reforms, as well as a world citizen. He links the ``mass psychosis'' of Stalinism to its present-day residue, ``fear of glasnost .'' He rails against chauvinism, racism and anti-Semitism, and deems superpower ``a disgusting term'' because it places ``two nations above all other countries.'' Along with a discussion of the unequal status of Soviet women and travel pieces on Alaska/Siberia (``unjustly divided twins''), Thailand and Moscow, there are encounters with Robert Kennedy, Pasternak and Picasso, and uncanny appreciations of Tolstoy, Shostakovich, poets Vladimir Mayakovsky and Marina Tsvetayeva. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1991
Release date: 03/01/1991
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