Pavel Morozov's official Soviet title was ""Hero-Pioneer of the Soviet Union Number 001."" He earned that title in November 1931 by denouncing his father to the Soviet authorities for falsifying documents. His father was tried and exiled. Less than a year later, his trial would be followed by a second, at which Pavel's grandparents, cousin and two uncles were tried for the murder of Pavel and his eight-year-old brother, Fyodor. Druzhnikov, a onetime Soviet dissident who is now vice-president of International PEN for writers in exile, does a commendable job of chasing down the loose ends of Pavel's life. He discovers that Pavel could not have been a Pioneer when he fingered his father--even though he would later be used as a model for the organization. He carefully examines the documents that exist (including an intriguing secret document dated two days prior to the discovery of the boys' bodies) and offers conjectures on why a suspiciously large number of other documents are missing. What emerges from these details is a complicated tale of a nasty teenager who wants to punish his father for leaving his mother and, discovering he enjoys his new-found power, continues to fink on villagers until someone knifes (or bayonets) him. The more important story, though, is one that Pavel can't even begin to understand, that of Stalin's plans for collectivization, the need of the government to subdue the frontier spirits in Siberia and to undermine the peasant family, the primary source of strength and resistance. Pavel Morozov and his murder, provided a repressive regime with a symbol of the absolute loyalty to the state and the supposed brutishness of the state's enemies. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 02/02/1997 Release date: 01/01/1997 Genre:
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