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Lev Kopelev: True Believer, Victim, Dissident

Chris Corin ressurects the life of a Soviet survivor whose remarkable and significant career deserves to be better known.

Lev Kopelev was born in 1912, five years before the Bolshevik revolution, and died in 1997 six years after the collapse of communism – a reminder of how relatively short that period was. His experiences and writings throw light on a number of the grimmer aspects of Soviet history as he went from enthusiast to victim to dissident. Through all this his humanity shines through and his belief that, in relations between people, ‘we need firm and definite moral laws and tenets – truth, unselfishness, compassion’. Unusual individual that he was, he also gives us a way into the lives and ideology of the ‘true believers’ who played an important part in the implementation of Stalin’s policies in the 1930s.

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