Mark Vayner was born on Feb 21. 1937. Four months after his birth, his grandfather, Zinovy Ilyich Balitsky, a specialist in railway signaling, was arrested and accused of “treason and counter-revolutionary activity”, as were millions of innocent people in those years. Quoting Mark: “The trial was as simple as Lenin’s truth: the ‘judges’, smoking and talking about their private lives, signed the list [that, among many other names, had his name. That was all. On the same day, my grandfather was shot. The official verdict was “10 years without the right to correspond.” After the execution of his grandfather, his wife, Mark’s grandmother, was exiled. Mark’s two uncles (brothers of Mark’s father) were shot in the same year. In 1959 Mark graduated from the Russian State University of Oil and Gas. He published one paper book and four electronic-books.
This collection of personal essays by a bi-national Russian/U.S. author offers glimpses into many things Soviet and post-Soviet: the sacred, the profane, the mundane, the little-discussed and the often-overlooked. What was a Soviet school dance like? Did communists go to church? Did communists listen to Donna Summer? If you want to find out, read on!
“Cold War Casual” is a collection of transcribed oral testimony and interviews translated from Russian into English and from English into Russian that delve into the effect of the events and the government propaganda of the Cold War era on regular citizens of countries on both sides of the Iron Curtain.
Julia Wiener was born in the USSR a few years before the Second World War; her youth was spent during the “Thaw” period, and her maturity coincided with the years of “Soviet stagnation”, which, in her case, ended with her emigration to Israel in the early 1970s. Her wartime childhood, her Komsomol-student youth, her subsequent disillusionment, her meetings with well-known writers (Andrei Platonov, Victor Nekrasov, etc.) are described in a humorous style and colorful detail. Julia brings to life colorful characters – from her Moscow communal apartment neighbors to a hippie London lord, or an Arab family, headed by a devotee of classical Russian literature. No less diverse are the landscapes against which the events unfold: the steppes of Kazakhstan, the Garden of Gethsemane, New York, Amsterdam, London.