Tecnica della liberazione
La lotta per l’emancipazione dell’individuo, emancipazione morale, fisica, intellettuale, sessuale, politica, religiosa, economica, sociale, filosofica, spirituale, estetica, registra momenti di svolta decisivi, pietre miliari indimenticabili e commoventi. Capita talvolta che in una notte fonda e fredda, sorga d’un subito momento inaspettata favella a rischiarare e irridere il nerume, a consentir di dar misura del buio pesto, larghezza del dolore, contezza dell’attesa. Così fu, tra le altre, per le parole di Pasternak. Se Comunità della e delle democrazie mai sarà, mai si avrà, della rete internet dovrà necessariamente rendersi specchio e articolazione.
How the CIA won Zhivago a Nobel
by Mark Franchetti, Moscow
Nearly 50 years after Boris Pasternak was awarded the Nobel prize for a body of work culminating in the epic Doctor Zhivago, it has emerged that British intelligence and the CIA secretly facilitated the accolade to embarrass the Kremlin, which had banned the novel.
A new book reveals that American agents led an operation to publish a Russian-language version of Doctor Zhivago to comply with Nobel rules requiring that works be considered in their original language.
“I have no doubt whatsoever that the CIA played a key role in ensuring Pasternak received the Nobel prize,” said the book’s author, Ivan Tolstoy, a respected Moscow researcher.
Immortalised by David Lean’s film, which won five Oscars, Doctor Zhivago was first published in Milan in 1957. It tells the tragic story of a doctor poet, Yuri Zhivago, and the love of his life, Lara, against the backdrop of the Bolshevik revolution. It was banned in the Soviet Union until 1987.
Pasternak sent several copies of the manuscript in Russian to friends in the West. Tolstoy has now discovered a letter from a former CIA agent describing the operation that followed. He says the CIA — aided by the British — stole a copy from a plane that was forced to land in Malta.
While passengers waited for two hours, agents took the manuscript from a suitcase, photographed it and returned it. The CIA then published the Russian edition in Europe and America simultaneously.
“They avoided using paper which could be identified as Western-made. They chose special fonts commonly used in Russia and printed chapters in separate locations to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands,” said Tolstoy, who is hoping to see his book, The Laundered Novel, published in the West.
Members of the Swedish Academy were surprised to be presented with copies of a Russian edition just in time for them to consider Pasternak for the 1958 prize. Two days after hearing that he had won, the writer sent a telegram to the Academy: “Immensely thankful, touched, proud, astonished, abashed.”
Four days later, under intense Kremlin pressure, Pasternak sent a second telegram: “I must reject this undeserved prize which has been presented to me. Please do not receive my voluntary rejection with displeasure.”
Pasternak was harassed by the KGB and threatened with expulsion from Russia. After his death in 1960, the Kremlin ordered the arrest of Olga Ivinskaya, his mistress and the inspiration for Lara.
Ivinskaya and her daughter were charged with receiving “illegal” royalties from the publication of Doctor Zhivago abroad. Ivinskaya was sentenced to eight years’ hard labour in Siberia, her daughter to three. An international uproar led to Ivinskaya’s release four years early.
“My father played no role in the publication of a Russian edition, nor had he any idea of the CIA’s interest,” said Yevgeny Pasternak, who accepted the Nobel prize on his father’s behalf in 1989.
“My father never expected to receive the prize. Sadly it brought him a lot of sorrow and suffering.”