Iosif Efimovich Aleshkovsky, known as Yuz Aleshkovsky, was a modern Russian writer, poet, playwright, and performer of his own songs. He was born on September 21, 1929, Krasnoyarsk, Russia. In 1949 Aleshkovsky was drafted into the Soviet Navy, but because of breaking the disciplinary code, he had to serve four years in jail (1950–1953). After serving the term, Aleshkovsky moved back to Moscow and began writing books for children. Aleshkovsky wrote songs and performed them. Some, especially “Товарищ Сталин, вы большой ученый” (“Comrade Stalin, you are a great scholar”) and “Окурочек” (“Little cigarette butt”), became extremely popular in the Soviet Union and are considered folk classics. Aleshkovsky also wrote screenplays for movies and television in the Soviet Union. He emigrated from the USSR in 1979. In addition to his songs, his work includes eleven novels, a collection of short stories, two novellas for children, and four well-known screenplays.
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.