Voices

Vladimir Putin played the role of the good tsar at his annual press conference, fielding questions, repeated declarations of grateful praise and requests to deal with unscrupulous businessmen and lazy bureaucrats. One excited journalist even credited him with an improvement in her love life, noting that she had “finally gotten married” shortly after meeting him in March.

Some novels have fewer equals than others

`Animal Farm' was published 50 years ago today. With Communism dead, is this classic political satire still relevant?

OLD SWINE IN NEW BOTTLES

THE BROADER PICTURE

Ernest Mandel

As someone who heard Ernest Mandel speak on a number of occasions, I am surprised at Ken Coates's obituary of him [28 July], writes Keith Flett.

Theatre TAKING SIDES Criterion, London

Think about it. If Shostakovich had been German instead of Russian, if instead of The Sun Shines Bright Over Our Motherland he had written a cantata called Die Sonne scheint uber unserem Vaterland, would it be performed now? Almost certainly not. And if at the end of his life he had produced a book called Testimony in which he claimed that every time he had seemed to be praising the Nazi regime he had really been subverting it (as every true German would have understood), what would the world say? Probably something like "Pull the other one" - though perhaps a bit more strongly worded.

Red gums

Alexei Doinikov, former chief dentist to the Kremlin, has admitted that Josef Stalin had only three of his own teeth left when he died in 1953.

OBITUARIES Milovan Djilas

To those of a certain sensibility, and age, Milovan Djilas gave Marxism a moral perspective absent from the Communism of Stalin, writes Jack Adrian [further to the obituary by Christopher Russell, 21 April].

LETTER : Labour's `Stalinist' approach to the unions

From Mr Geoff Martin

BOOK REVIEW : Invasion of the jitterbuggers

RICH RELATIONS: THE AMERICAN OCCUPATION OF BRITAIN 1942-45 David Reynolds HarperCollins £25

BORIS PASTERNAK

HEROES & VILLAINS

It's got everything except independence

Tatarstan could be another Chechnya. But the republic has food for stomachs, not stomach for war, writes Simon Calder LOST NATIONS

Liquidation of a Soviet gull D C Watt on some great minds that were seduced into supporting Stalin

He cannot admit the appeal of what Stalin perverted

Stalinist tendency rattles German former Communists

Just a few months ago, the former Communists of East Germany were popping champagne corks to celebrate successes in the parliamentary elections in October.

Letter: Threatened by linguistic Stalinism

Sir: It seems the Conservatives - the self-proclaimed party of the individual, of personal responsibility - are now going to tell us how to speak. The arguments marshalled by Susan Elkin in favour of this ('Prisoners of incomprehensible English', 17 October), however, bear further scrutiny.

Blow up the Duke of Sutherland, but leave his limbs among the heather

THEY want to blow up the Duke of Sutherland. As the papers reported last week, a group of Highland radicals have asked Highland Regional Council to destroy the statue of the first Duke of Sutherland, a sandstone colossus which is 100ft high with its plinth and stands on a 1,300ft mountain. They say he was an enemy of the human race, like Hitler or Stalin.

Obituary: Leonid Leonov

Leonid Maximovich Leonov, novelist and playwright; born Moscow 31 May 1899; died 8 August 1994.
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