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tv   [untitled]    August 20, 2011 3:31am-4:01am EDT

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i'll be back with more on those stories more developments in half an hour from now in the meantime interview program spotlight it's where we meet newsweek's moscow bureau chief oh in matthew's now he first came to moscow to find out the truth about his grandfather who died and starred in prison camps but he quickly became fascinated by the country and its people that is next on r.t. . hello again and welcome to spotlight the end of the show on r.t. i'll go now then claim my guest is now when matthew the book he dedicated to his family called style and children three generations of love and war has become a bestseller and britain and was translated into several languages recently it was published in russia today is the guest of spotlight to tell us about the
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fascinating story of his parents. in newsweek bureau chief in moscow when matthews has been roaming around the world searching for great stories but he found his best story in moscow trying to track his family tree born in london to a russian modern welsh father he became a journalist and arrived in moscow to plunge into work and break away on his own instead he stumbled upon his roots and started searching for more he dug through the k.g.b. archives until he found a tragic story of his grandfather who died at the hands of stalin cyclical leagues and will became fascinated by russia and says despite his relatives having to escape from this country they still carry something a bit inside themselves to explain more on his dramatic family story on matthews joins us today on spotlight. welcome to the show thank you very much for being with us. and well first of all you. spent
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quite a while in russia you speak fluent russian you have you're from russian family in a sense so they you consider yourself to be russian at least half russian or you prefer to observe like as a foreigner and i think from a distance well i'm not sure what i what i prefer but the fact is that i was born and raised in london so. although i was spoke russian with my mother and indeed i do speak excellent russian but i can't count that as my cheap minutes because my mother told me from childhood and although it turns out that i have now spent actually pretty much half my adult life in russia i'm still a foreigner here i'm still a foreigner and one of the things that i think a lot of russians why i was slightly nervous about this book appearing in russian is that above all it's a journey of of someone to a foreigner albeit a foreigner with quite close ties with rose the russian language it's a foreigners journey into russia trying to explain so i'm trying to explain sort of
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for myself and trying to explain for the reader so it's not a russian book about russia it's a foreigner's book about writing so in your book here you take a view of a foreigner but. and inside yourself you always consider yourself to be a londoner rather and that russian world russian is something something from a book here for you this is early because i actually am now my my wife is russian and now and therefore my children are now three quarters so i mean i should probably feel more at home in moscow and i do in london and i certainly find it more interesting to live in moscow than i do to spend time in one of the restaurants are surely better tasting. but this is the way that i think there's a great letter from. russia great russian poet million to thought of a wrote from paris because she after the revolution she spent some years in paris and she writes to her friend on the mouth of a who is he remains in in leningrad the she can't bear this
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the she she misses the the video or the little one the little wind in russia all the people in russia are. subjected to these sort of seismic events of history and. so i always thought even before i lived in russia that there was some. being in a more real if you do have this feeling for this arc and stuff there then please tell me was it your idea to change the name the time of your novel when it but because in russian it was published under a name quite a nice name anti soviet novel which is that we're where we should always can be translated as an anti so we'd romance exactly said so so you think it's justified well here's here's the thing. i think there's a title in english style instilled and. when you first hear it your presumption is more that it's the that it's not literally about the children of joseph stalin with
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london with you. but but more about you know the generation who are stalin's children and in russian i think the tendency is more to presume that it's literally about stalin's children so there's a technical issue that i didn't want to you know so the fool people into into thinking it was a book literally about stalin's children but also there's a more important aspect to this and there's that that actually unfortunately tragically the story which makes up the first half of the book is of the the life and death of my grandfather a party who was executed moresby because he was executed in one thousand thirty seven and his children my mother. were raised by the soviet state that part is actually much more familiar tragically to millions of russian families so i wanted a little bit to change the emphasis of the book for the for the russian reader to a story which is less familiar and less usual in the lives of. the second which is
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the sort of romantic story of my my father a welshman and and his fiance and how they struggle for six years to to get married and have a question about their russian version the russian translation the russian version of the book the picture. and the car cover shows your parents like resembling the famous statue of a worker and a peasant but if they if there's an estate you carry a hammer and sickle you are scary an axe. whose idea. it was it was just a joke it's really hard is it just a joke that it's actually from a series of very funny photographs that were taken of my mother who is very young and she was a librarian and it's her. fooling around. pretending to be the work and the president so to the actual picture and i mean it's like
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super good is that it was a shot of today it's a real photograph taken like many years ago had taken. that was your words far that it was just there was just just playing around you know just all of these so they had neither a hammer nor six. in the library i don't know but the numbers they found this and they just sort of you know it was a series of sort of funny photographs ok well this sort of kidding would have been considered anti-semitism stands and you know i very much. like it now. tell me about the book tell me about the book first of all the critics already said that there are too many clichés nobody clichés about russia and that they're like you're a journalist a specialist in this country and half russian should have no no this country better then to use the cliche what it what did you get the i think what's what they describe as cliches is actually. particularly i think what people might take
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objection to is that my. my journey into russia in the one nine hundred ninety s. when i arrived as a young journalist. there is there's a great phrase from jarvis cocker everybody hates a tourist and especially one who thinks it's all such a laugh. at those who work in the tourist industry and i suspect they would have voted but it in a modern found sense i mean indeed i mean the whole idea of a sort of rather spoiled young journalist coming to moscow and. having this feast in the time of famine you know how i have enjoyed being in sort of. descending into all this of the moscow underworld which i describe because i was a young city reporter the moscow times at that point i can see how people would be would be offended that i was sort of enjoying all this sort of room on the world of moscow while the people were suffering but actually i think that i also balance
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that because i actually sort of saw a lot of the been a very nasty underbelly and it affected me very deeply the homeless children and prisons and so on and i think part of the criticism is because people don't like to be reminded of that world because it was a very nightmarish last time and i don't i certainly make it clear i hope that russia has changed since then russia is no longer about sort of a market wild dog the last place that it was in the ninety's happily. a human chain . grandfather and this and this is where your book started as far as i understand you've found you found the archives of the end of a dead now and the k.g.b. not your first and then now the f.s.b. and their archives away you actually look at the story of your grandfather boris because who was who was a party a party apparatchik and he was very well to do and then he disappeared and he was he was actually prosecuted by but by the k.g.b.
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so how come you found them you just you don't just walk into the into the k.g.b. building looking for archives well actually the for the historical purposes i was very fortunate in so far as that he was that all how all this happened in ukraine. in russia even today the f.s.b. archives are closed there was a brief period of slight liberalization in the in the early one nine hundred ninety s. but basically i could not have written a book had my grandfather be shot in russia the largely because the f.s.b. still likes to keep its secrets in the closet and to the people in power in the kremlin prefer to close that hole it was told not to fly was part of the k.g.b. our cards they were kept by the by the ukrainian bureau you know the link you still there and unlike in russia in ukraine there's actually calls to
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tional right for relatives to get the documents so fortunately it didn't require really any any any great some technical difficulties i just wrote to them and sure enough i got a you know letter back saying you know your your your copus is here and you can you can you can view it and it's in deed or in a terrifying document and you have you know you just walk into the building you get yourself a pass and then they and they give you the first of the files and they're going to find or there's a very good photo copy you know what you can get a copy there's some technical issue. something positive for comfortable but the most interesting detail is that. the the ukrainian s.b.u. the successor of the k.g.b. also wanted to protect its own because there was a part of the file that was closed to me taped together and i was sitting with a young officer for two days leafing through this file and. as you know old russian script is really hard to read so it is a helping me to read it and this part of the file was taped. taped together and he
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eventually succumbed also to curiosity and taped it and we looked through it together and it was the part of the file that was. part of the rehabilitation investigation one hundred fifty six when all of the when he was rehabilitated when he was proved to be innocent and all of those all of the investigators that had been involved in the case had themselves by nine hundred thirty nine been shot so the pudge consumed a turn and there's nobody left in the neighborhood because they didn't want people to know. why did they give you the tape just kept their word because it's all it's all there together. says that he is a journalist a true gentleman says we're here and author of a book called stolen children spotlight will be back shortly right after a break so stay with us we'll continue left then and.
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the latest in science and technology from the realm of. the future are very. close. i'm going to approach. the future flights. our team takes to the max air show.
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walking back to spotlight an album no one just a reminder that my guest in the studio today is no one there he is a british journalist and author of a book called stamina children recently recently it was published in russian here in this country. and you just told us about your grand grand for the world is a bit of. was a pretty a pariah trick in the soviet times very well to do member of the party so he'd nomenklatura and later he was persecuted why what was the reason why did they shoot it world several answers to that question the immediate reason was that. stalin was at that point confirming himself as establishing himself in power and there was still. a large number of. people who didn't necessarily support star lives in fear of the great repression the great the great
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purge and so basically almost all of the leadership of the ukrainian party had supported sort of the cube of who was a challenger in one who was murdered in nineteen of the devil leningrad seemed exactly so it was briefly an internal power. struggle within the party and stalin was eliminating his enemies but for me i think the more important question is how did this happen and in its inputs this question alexander solzhenitsyn puts this question much better than i ever could he says he asks where does this wolf tribe come from where did it come from the it came from among us because the line that divides good from evil goes through the heart of every man and who wants to cut out a piece of his own heart so this this this paradox of this incredible. horror could be unleashed by russian men doing what they thought was right actually made poses a very complex moral question because my grandfather key field his personal
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revolution in bricks and mortar he was very active in building one of the great giant factories of the first five year plan but the men who killed him shared the exact same philosophy they'd build the postal revolution in the enemies of the bodies of the people they considered to be or had been told were enemies of the people the only thing that was different was their probably their attitude to stellan some of them love them more than some of us and some of them less we want to be going to be as low just died while i think goes a bit deeper than that though and it is their personal attitude to murder because it's very it's very early but you know. when you quoted this this phrase from soldier notes and i think it's true they're not only about about this country but any country about the great inquisition you can say the same thing about it allianz about this line that goes through the heart of the people here but not not not not in that not many countries have practiced auto genocide on the scale of russians
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cambodia right it's right here right well now. some countries in europe practice there but it's it's not something that now but not the auto genocide not of the people even that even if there were nazis killed people who they consider to be. germany. germany was pretty popular. ok ok well let's get on with your book yet you know your grandmother your grandmother. disappeared too and you were able also to find her trace there but that wasn't in the in the archives in the in the same secret service or was it no was she she she was sent to the gulag where wish where she she spent nearly fifty years sent to the gulag because of what her husband. did you are big b. because it has a wife as a as the wife of an enemy of the people and. in the she she survived
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and she she came back to moscow and lived with her with her daughters but unfortunately she went in with them in the in the gulag and i met her. i remember it slightly but very clearly when i was five she came to england once to meet her daughter who would by that time married to a young britain and emigrated and she says and i i met her as a child but my my portrait of her was really composed of the memories of her daughters primarily my aunt and my mother you know where your great grandparents were buried. my grandparents. my grandfather was buried in unmarked grave of which there are hundreds around russia if i when was just on earth will go to boston recently. if you will know now before we start talking about your father and your mother the second point in the
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book this empty soviet romance well i should say that in the closed society as the us is travelling abroad or even communicate yes your mother with foreigners was virtually unheard of any contact of somebody from abroad could mean big problems spotlight you know the media reports and it. the nine hundred twenty s. so young idealists from around the world coming to russia to take part in creating would be believed to be a better society fascination with the ideas of socialism brought an estimated twenty thousand americans and canadians to the u.s.s.r. between one nine hundred twenty and one nine hundred twenty five many of them found their law here the luckiest who were disillusioned by the regime quickly enough to go home before the stalin's repressions of the 1930's many of those who stayed there eventually sent to the gulags russian families of the foreigners couldn't escape the same fate in one thousand nine hundred eighty seven cross border
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marriages were completely prohibited by soviet law it was difficult to break the law since or a few soviets who were allowed to go abroad after it was a bore wished on stalin's death things didn't become any simpler for those russians who fell in love with foreigners the foreigners were in the course supervision by the key g.b. when they arrived in russia their loved ones who were regarded as potential spies the suspicion was enough for a person to lose their job and exulted to remote regions it was not until the one nine hundred seventy s. that immigration was allowed russians had to realize that once they married a foreigner and went abroad it was in most of the cases one way ticket out of the country relatives in france who stigmatised in the soviet union as not been fooled to the regime the real freedom in their in somebody from abroad came on there with the coup apps of the u.s.s.r. . so we just saw how difficult it was to communicate
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foreigners how did your father ok me to russia in the sixty's managed to meet his fish or if you're living well to fall in love with i want to become a real close while he was actually one of the very first generation of postgraduate students there were that there were that were allowed to study at moscow university as part of the. as part of an academic exchange and that was in fact thanks to call short because already and after the death of stalin and the thaw first it was the festival of you through nine hundred seventy seven with the first time my father came to russia along with several that he was part of that he was a he was at that he did not meet your mother he didn't meet so i'm not a child of the picture. but the i was born in fifty seven. but actually it means that and that also doesn't make me. because i was what you were in the festival. so and i think i was enormously important turning point for soviet
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society in fact and by the time my. but my my father my father came to moscow several times firstly as a researcher in the british embassy briefly in ninety fifty eight and then again as a a as an economic in one hundred sixty three and then it was actually it was dangerous for people with something to lose to meet with foreigners because you could get in trouble with your job but my mother was a point of working as a young librarian so actually she and the university actually the institute of marxism and leninism. how do you how how did he a young british guy go to the market is a. they how they met somewhere somebody they met through mutual friends how my father knew from the first and how i see the connection was the bolshoi theater. there was sort of by letter march so my mother loved the ballet and this mutual friend of the ballet and he said and introduce each other but in fact even when they were introduced. their mutual friend called for you to go it's an didn't
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didn't introduce him as a as an englishman he said he said he and the stone you know why because it was sort of so as not to frighten her so that her you know her but if you do speak russian my father did speak to her and say he's broken russian we could which could sound like this no i like it but. it is credit better than broken i think it's he said he writes russian much better than me with an accent tell you so this is why your mother could have taken him from someone from the bottom before so and they and they met and and they fell in love and if i had even though it seems to us that they believe that they could get married and they and the they registered to get married but about point. the k.g.b. intervened. they had been trying to. recruit my father for some for some years i'm not quite sure what they wanted why they thought he would be important or
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interesting but when he finally had got a savior. fiance they they had something on him and they gave him they offered him a deal an offer which they thought he couldn't refuse which was either either you work for us or you don't marry your fiance and he took a very brave decision i'm not sure i could have had this the moral courage to do that but he. he told them to get lost and he. he was kicked out of the country made persona non-grata years before he was deported and then what was the reason the official reason like for dating a russian gallow was no no they actually set him up the they persuaded a. fellow graduate student to accuse him of economic speculation by selling jean le jeans are going to something air and it was a really really nasty story i mean they're off of the road to throw this guy out of university and i mean it was it was a sort of typical sort of nasty k.g.b. story so they're basically the they set him up i mean very obviously ever they
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didn't even conceal that it was the it was and then you mum should have been very brave after that because she continued keeping in touch with him and enter and try to meet him and twenty to get to go to england and all that i mean this was pretty brave indeed and that's what makes the whole story so extraordinary because to us it seems almost incredible it's nine hundred sixty three it's the height of the cold war it's to just us after the cuban missile crisis and these two young people who have been separated very forceful forcibly by the savior state decide that they're not going to take that for an answer they're not going to take no for an answer they're going to fight to be together and in the decision that we think is partly it's naive but it's also a insanely brave and it would be crazy if it weren't for the fact that they eventually succeeded six years later because in fact the. one of the oddest things about the whole story and something that surprised many western readers it was that they were allowed to correspond they wrote to each other every day and the
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correspondence is magnificent it's incredibly moving it's beautiful. but a lot has got to go through some of the more read down close but they corresponded freely ok well thank you very much for this interview i hope they their readers will learn more from reading a book thank you and just to remind you that my guest today was how when i met he was journalist and author of a book called stallions children and that's it for now from all of us here spotlight will be back with more until then stay on r.t. and take a thank you. morning
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when the t.v. news was following. the streets of the kept. on turning point in russia's history. was it a justified move forward. since the battle for
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democracy on our. global markets ended week one of the massive selloff as investors panic of a full cost of recession in the u.s. and europe. the middle east is inflamed once again and pulls out of a cease fire after the israeli air force targets. the anniversary of the crucial to the failed coup by company's hardliners and the bloody resistance of democratic activists twenty years ago open the era of a new post soviet russia the top stories this hour. with news from russia and from around the world live from moscow this is a twenty four hours a day investor confidence has been dealt a severe blow as global man.


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