Children Of The Arbat by Anatoli Rybakov

Description: On a street called the Arbat in Moscow’s intellectual and artistic center in the 1930s, Sasha, one of a group of idealistic young communists, is sentenced to three years in Siberia for publishing a newspaper.

Opening: Between Nikolsky and Denezhny streets (today they are called Plotnikov and Vesnin) stood the biggest apartment block in the Arbat – three eight-storey buildings, one close behind the other, the front one glazed with a facade of white tiles.

It is the early ’30s and we are introduced to a handful of late-teen residents, a circle of friends, and observe their interactions and ambitions. Foremost here are Sasha and Yuri.

This novel was suppressed by the Soviet Union for over twenty years.[..] The author was arrested and exiled to Siberia but was later ‘rehabilitated’ when he became a highly decorated tank commander in WWII.
Taken from the dust cover

The writing is a little choppy and I found keeping a notebook of the names helped a lot. Not a book to read in bed, this takes concentration and strong wrists – this is a brick in the hardback.

Decided against going with the rest of the trilogy, for now at least, and have my eyes fixed on Heavy Sand, a novel about Soviet Jews living in a Nazi occupied Ukranian village.

Originally a suburb where traders from the East would arrive with their caravans, in the 18th Century the Arbat became popular with Moscow’s intelligentsia and artistic community, who enjoyed frequenting the many cafes and taking strolls along the area’s mansion-lined boulevards. Pushkin himself lived here with his wife in house number 53 (the building has since been turned into a museum dedicated to the poet) and Tolstoy resided on the adjoining Kaloshin Lane. In fact Count Fyodor was said to have modelled his famous character Anna Karenina on Maria Gartung – Pushkin’s oldest daughter, who also lived nearby. Source

Children of the Arbat (Russian: Дети Арбата) is a novel by Anatoly Rybakov that recounts the era in the Soviet Union of the build-up to the Congress of the Victors, the early years of the second Five Year Plan and the (supposed) circumstances of the murder of Sergey Kirov prior to the beginning of the Great Purge.
wiki – sourced

This section is for interesting items found during my read-time to enable ‘light and well-meaning’ contrasts and comparisons *cough* within the intellectual and artistic communities today:

Russia political artist who faces jail for vandalism

Russia jails Ukraine director Sentsov on terror charges

Radical Moscow film festival cancelled in favour of Putin-backed replacement

Walls/barriers: Estonia in particular, yet the practice in general

Apropos of today’s russian tyrant: do you think the current n. korean tyrant wept when all that european cheese was destroyed?

Forbidden food and contraband clothes: the Russian sanctions quiz

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