Lenin, by Dimitri Volkogonov
Though his has been an unusual career, the life story of Dmitri Volkogonov epitomizes and explains much that has happened to the Soviet Union and Communism.
As he told us in his biography of Stalin (1989), Volkogonov’s father was executed when he was a child, and his family was banished to Siberia. For his Russian readers, Volkogonov did not need to specify the date or the alleged offense that led to his father’s death. Certainly most of his countrymen would know that the time was somewhere between 1937 and 1940, and that, like 99.9 percent of those purged, the elder Volkogonov was innocent of any real crime. They also would have understood that very likely the Volkogonovs were simple folk. Had the father been a prominent “enemy of the people,” his wife would have been sent to a camp, his children placed in an orphanage and quite possibly arrested themselves upon reaching adulthood.
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