Ezio Mauro
Lo scrittore senza nome (The writer without a name)
An essay, Feltrinelli, October 2021, 208 pages

Andrei Sinjavskij was only half of a story. The other half was named Yulij Daniel’. Together, the two Russian writers challenged the Soviet regime with the most powerful and feared weapon – the word – publishing their books in the West under the pseudonyms of Abram Terz and Nikolai Arjak.

Andrei Sinjavskij and Yulij Daniel’ were arrested only four days apart by the KGB, and in 1966 tried in a trial that became a worldwide scandal, the first after the fall of Chruscëv and the reformist illusions. Their sentences were almost identical: five and seven years in prison and forced labor in the gulag. On both of them, on the last day of the trial, the investigating judge’s words resounded with his impenetrable certainty: “You may be right in twenty years, but for the moment it is I who am right”. Then the Soviet power thought of breaking the thread of that intellectual friendship, so deep that it turned into politics, and so strong that it turned into opposition: it opened to Sinjavskij the way to exile, while Daniel’ remained confined in his homeland. Sinjavskij lived in Paris, taught at the Sorbonne and his books had to stop at the immense border of the USSR. Thus the writer was forbidden in his own country until he was forgotten. The chess game between power and Yulij Daniel’ was more difficult. He lived in his homeland, after the camp he returned to Moscow in a house near the Sokol subway station. He did not carry out any suspicious activities. But his life, his name, his identity confirmed him as an intellectual forever and a dissident forever. A shadow fell over his name. But he kept repeating to himself: ‘Julij Markovic Daniel’, writer and translator, already convicted of anti-Soviet activities, released from the gulag, living in Kaluga, living in Moscow, on Novaja Pishanaja Street, entrance 3, second floor, apartment number 52. All this, because of two books.

Ezio Mauro

Ezio Mauro

Ezio Mauro started his career in journalism in 1972 at the newspaper Gazzetta del Popolo in Turin. Then, he became a political reporter in Rome for La Stampa, for which he was also a foreign correspondent, writing stories and conducting investigative reports in the United States. In 1988, he started contributing to the newspaper la Repubblica, writing from Moscow. On June 26, 1990 he re-joined La Stampa, becoming its editor-in-chief two years later. On May 6, 1996 he became the editor-in-chief of la Repubblica. In 2011, he published La felicità della democrazia. Un dialogo, with Gustavo Zagrebelsky, and in 2015 Babel, his dialogue on democracy with Zygmunt Bauman. He has written L’anno del ferro e del fuoco. Cronache di una rivoluzione (2017), L’uomo bianco (2018), Anime prigioniere. Cronache dal muro di Berlino (2019), Liberi dal male (2020), La dannazione (2020)His most recent book is Lo scrittore senza nome (2021). In 2016 he left his place as editor-in-chief of la Repubblica, but he still contributes to it.

 

 

 

 

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