The Repatriate: Love, Basketball, and the KGB

Tom Mooradian. CreateSpace, $19.95 trade paper (446p) ISBN 978-1-5426-1361-3
Journalist Mooradian delivers a fascinating memoir describing the 13 years he spent living in the former Soviet Union. After finishing high school in 1947, he joined the first group of 150 Armenian-American to repatriate to the Soviet republic of Armenia in southwestern Asia. Mooradian, then only 17, was sponsored by the Armenian Progressive League, which was responding to a call from Stalin for members of ethnic groups to return to the Soviet Union to help “reconstruct its war-torn cities.” Settling in Erevan, the capital of Soviet Armenia, Mooradian enrolled in Erevan’s Institute of Physical Culture and Sports, where he earned a bachelor’s degree while playing basketball for Soviet Armenia’s team; he went on to become a well-known basketball player in the U.S.S.R. Soon overwhelmed by “disenchantment, disappointment, disbelief, and depression” at the reality of life in Soviet Armenia, Mooradian began a decade-long effort to obtain an exit visa to return home to his family, relying on his basketball prowess to maintain his optimism: “Basketball was not just a part of my life; it was my life. It saved my life.” Mooradian’s memoir serves as a lucid firsthand account of life in the post-war U.S.S.R. (Self-published)
Reviewed on : 11/26/2019
Release date: 02/01/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
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