As I Was Burying Comrade Stalin

My Life Becoming a Jewish Dissident


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About the Book

Arkady Polishchuk came of age in Stalin’s Russia, in the turbulent times before, during and after World War II. His love for the Soviet dictator persisted for years until Polishchuk, a 19-year-old Jew, was not admitted to the university. In 1952, he learned about the preparations for mass deportation of Jews to Siberia.
He celebrated Stalin’s death in 1953—but state oppression dominated his life as before. As a young reporter for the Kostroma regional newspaper, he met with destitute plowmen, teenage milkmaids and former prisoners turned woodcutters, and wrote about them. When his satirical flair outraged a Communist Party secretary, the KGB initiated a political case against him and he fled to avoid persecution.
His memoir describes his painstaking journey toward mental and spiritual liberation.

About the Author(s)

Arkady Polishchuk (b. 1930) is a Russian dissident and journalist stripped of Soviet citizenship in 1977. For years, he worked as a Radio Liberty correspondent in Washington, Munich, and Prague.

Bibliographic Details

Arkady Polishchuk

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 226
Bibliographic Info: index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8020-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3817-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Part One: Mother Russia
A Cow in My Room and Other ­Well-Established Facts of My Life 3
There Is No God, but the Devil Frightens Me Every Day 10
The School of Life and Russian Blood in Jewish Cookies 14
Papa Goes to Fight Germans; I Go to Weed Tobacco 22
Waiting for German Bombs on the Roof of My House 32
Flight from Moscow 38
My Favorite Horse Groom 47
My Blitzkrieg Against Germans 60
Exciting Activities Outside of School Boredom 65
My Love Life During the War and After the Victory 72
How to Become a Philosopher 81
Part Two: Stepmother Russia
Alma Mater in the Days of the Dying God 93
The Most Influential Writer in My Life 100
Travel to True Russia 105
Granny’s Log House 113
My Journey into the Forest’s Depths 120
My Unhealthy Interest in Former Prisoners 127
When You Chop Wood, Chips Fly 133
Adventures in the Wilderness 141
Part Three: The Road to Rebellion
Not Newsworthy Events 149
A Village in the Midst of Swamps 160
My Questionable Activities 168
The World Youth Festival; or, How Hollywood Tried to Destroy Russia 174
The Rise of the Adventurer 182
My Life with a Gravedigger 188
The Fall of the Adventurer 194
The Most Dangerous Assignment 199
Index 211

Book Reviews & Awards

“A deeply personal account…With literary skill worthy of an I.J. Singer, it delves into [Arkady’s] spiritual evolution from card-carrying Russian Communist to Jewish dissident.”—Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs