Sunday, April 18, 2010

Viktor Platonovich Nekrasov

Viktor Platonovich Nekrasov (Russian: Виктор Платонович Некрасов, Viktor Platonovič Nekrasov) (June 17, 1911 – September 3, 1987) was a Russian writer, journalist and editor.

Nekrasov was born in Kiev and graduated with a degree in architecture in 1936. Between 1937 and 1941, he was an actor and set designer with the Kiev Russian Drama Theater. During World War II, he served in the Red Army (1941-1944) and fought in the Battle of Stalingrad. After the war he became a journalist and based his first book Front-line Stalingrad (V okopakh Stalingrada, literal translation In the trenches of Stalingrad, 1946) on his experiences there. The novel was awarded the Stalin Prize for literature in 1947.

After Joseph Stalin's death in 1953, Nekrasov took advantage of the first wave of destalinization to publish In the home town (1954), a novel which marked a departure from the Stalin-era socialist realism in Soviet literature. His later works, especially his novel Kira Georgievna (1961), are markedly anti-Stalinist. In 1959 he was the first Soviet writer to openly call for a monument to be built at Baby Yar. A travelogue of his experiences in Italy in 1957 and the United States in 1960, Both sides of the ocean, which was unusually open for its time, was published in 1962 and denounced by Nikita Khruschev in 1963.

After Khruschev's ouster in October 1964, Nekrasov joined other Soviet intellectuals in protesting what he saw as the new government's gradual restoration of Stalinism. He signed numerous open letters protesting government policies in 1966-1973 and was expelled from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1973. In 1974 he emigrated to France, where he became an associate editor of the emigre magazine Kontinent. While in exile, he wrote an autobiography, Newspaper of a peculiar one (1976), and a novel, Those of the front (1978). He died in Paris.


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