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tv   [untitled]    August 20, 2011 7:30pm-8:00pm EDT

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broadcasting live direct from the heart of moscow this is r t i'm sean tongues. hamas launches rocket attacks on israel a day after its announcement of calling off its cease fire with the jewish state meanwhile the middle east peace quartet has called on egypt to help restore security in the region made escalating tensions heavy gunfire between. heavy gunfire and explosions are reported in the libyan capital but independent sources on the ground say it is all part of a nato dis information campaign broken off the forces say they remain well on and
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are ready to fight to the. also we mark twenty years since moscow was placed under military curfew during an attempt to overthrow mikhail gorbachev the coup faced a fierce resistance and failed to talk of the government but nonetheless changed the course of history for the soviet union. now in our interview program spotlight we need newsweek's moscow bureau chief on mathews he first came to moscow to find out the truth about his grandfather who died in stalin's prison camps he quickly became fascinated by the country and its people that's next on r.t. . hello again welcome to spotlight the interview show on r.t. i'm al gore no my guest is zero when matthew the book he dedicated to his family
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called stolen 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 fascinating story of his parents. newsweek bureau chief in moscow when matthews has been roaming around the world so she put great stories but he found his best story in moscow trying to track his family tree born in london to russian modern or well strother he became a journalist and arrived in moscow to plunge into work and break away on his own instead and stumbled upon his roots and started searching for more dogs in the cage of the archives until he found the tragic story of his grandfather died at the hands of stalin cyclical leaks 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 them
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a story on matthew's joins us today on spotlight. it's a show thank you very much for me with. a here i want to go first of all you. spent quite a while and russia you speak fluent russian you have. from russian family and so do you consider yourself to be russian at least half russian or you prefer to observe as a foreigner and i think from a distance well i'm not sure what i would have preferred but the fact is that i was born and raised in london so. although i whispered russian with my mother and indeed i do speak excellent russian but that's i can't count it as my treatment it's because my mother told me from childhood. and although it turns out that i've now spent actually pretty much half my adult life in russian i'm still a foreigner 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
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is that above all it's a journey of of someone of a foreigner albeit a foreigner with my close ties i'm with i'm with rose the russian language it's a foreigners journey into russia trying to explain so i'm trying to explain some for myself and try to explain for the reader so it's not a russian book about russia it's a it's a foreigners but in your book you're here you take a view of the foreigner. and insert yourself you always consider yourself to be a londoner rather and their russian is something something from a book here for you this is early because actually i'm now my my wife is russian an hour before my children are three quarters so i mean i should probably feel more than two hundred and i you know i certainly find it more interesting to live in moscow than i do tend to spend time in one of the restaurants are really tasty. but this is the other thing there's a there's
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a great letter for which russia great russian per million took over a route from paris because she got the revolution she spent some years in paris and she writes to her friend my people who see the remains in an leningrad that she can't bear this the she she she misses the the visitor or the little room the little when in russia all the people in russia. are subjected to be sort of seismic events of history and. so i was thought even before i lived in russia that there was some. you know i'm all real if you do have this feeling for this that ark and stuff then please tell me was it your idea to change the name of your novel and because in russian it was published under a name quite a nice name then ties soviet novel which is where we should always can be
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translated as an anti surveyed romance exactly so so you think it's justified well here's here's the thing. i think the title in english style instilled in it when you first hear it your presumption is more that it's the it's it's not literally about the children of drawers of style and it's a ton of questions you. put more about you know the generation who are stalin's children and in russian i think the tendency is more to presume but it's literally about style as children so there's a technical issue that i didn't want to you know it was the full of people and into thinking it was a book literally about stalin's children but also there's a more important aspect of this another is 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 he was executed. of who is executed in one hundred thirty seven and his
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children my mother. were raised by the state that part is actually much more familiar tragically to millions of russian families so i wanted a little bit to sort of change the emphasis of the book for the for the russian reader to a story which is less familiar and less usual under the suddenly some of which is a list of this is the second which is the romantic story of my my father a welshman now and his fiance and how they struggle for six years to to turn to get married it never got a question about the russian version the russian translation the russian dish and the book the picture. and the car cover shows your parents like resembling the famous statue of a worker and a present but if they if there's an especially carry a hammer and sickle you're scary next. whose idea of. actually it was it was just the really odd is that it's just a joke it's actually from
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a series of very funny photographs that were taken of my mother who was is very young and she was a librarian and it's her. fooling around. pretending to be the work in the present system to the actual picture i mean it's no surprise it is it was a shock to this surreal to go home if it's taken like many years ago i think unless . that was you watch far there it was just it was just just playing around. so they had neither am i nor sit. in the library i don't know but based on this they found that i could only just sort of it was a series of sort of funny for instance ok well this sort of kidding would be considered anti-semitism so you know i very much so. it's only about the book tell me about the book first of all the critics already said that there are too many clichés able to be cliches about russia that they're
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going to go like you're a journalist a specialist in this country and half russian should have no no this country better then g.'s the cliche what it were what did you get. i think what's what they describe as cliches is actually. particularly i think what people might take objection to is that my. my journey into russia in the one nine hundred ninety s. when i arrived as a young journalist. there's 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 that tourist industry and i suspect that a good but in a more profound sense indeed i mean the whole idea of a sort of you know rather spoiled young journalist coming to moscow and. having this feast in the time of famine you know how they enjoy union sort of. descending into all this of the mosque around the world which i describe because i was
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a young city reporter in the moscow times at that point and i can see how people would be would be offended that i was sort of enjoying all this sort of you know underworld of moscow while the people were suffering but actually i think that i also balance that because i actually sort of saw a lot of the you know very nasty underbelly and it affected me very deeply good 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 and last time and i don't i certainly make it clear i hope the russian has changed since then and russia is no longer about sort of a market while the dark last place that it was in the ninety's happened. a human chain. grandfather and this and this is where your book started as far as and they said you found you found the archives of the end covered there now and then the k.g.b. now your first and then there are the f.s.b.
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and there are cards away you actually like the story of your grandfather boris did recover was was a party a party apparatus 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. so how come you found them you just you don't just walk into the into the k.g.b. building like archives well actually the for the historical purposes i was very fortunate in see in insofar as that he was that all how all this happened in ukraine. in russia even today be f.s.b. archives are closed there was a brief period of slight liberalization 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 of the f.s.b. still like sticky thing its secrets in the closet and the the people in power in
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the kremlin prefer to close the hole in the store to private parts of the k.g.b. archives where 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 constitutional rights 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 kind of person he is here and you can you can you can view it and it's indeed an increase a terrifying document and have you know you just walk into the building you give yourself a pass and then they and they give you the files and then you go find over there's a very vocal theater what you can get a copy there's some technical issue. something far different from pretty but the most interesting detail is that. even ukrainian s.b.u. the. successor of the k.g.b. also wanted to protect its own because there was
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a part of the file that was closed to me taped together and i was sitting with a young officer two days in defense of this file and. as you know old russian script is really hard to read so it was like helping me to read it and this part of the file was taped. take together and he eventually succumbed also to curiosity and untaped and we looked through it together and it was the part of the file that was . part of the rehabilitation investigation of nine hundred fifty six when all of that 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 those are the pudge consumed it's on and there's nobody left because they didn't want people to know. but why did they give you the tape just kept this low because if it's all it's old it together. says
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that he is a journalist a true journalist as we hear and author of a book called stolen children spotlight will be back shortly right after the break so don't go stay with us we'll continue in less than a. man's . close a. lot . larger. to the max their show. wealthy british style.
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markets why not. find out what's really happening to the global economy with a much stronger or a no holds barred look at the global financial headlines tune in to cause a report on our. welcome back to spot like an album not just a reminder that my guest in the studio today is owen matthews agrees journalist and author of a book called stamina children recently recently it was published in russian in this country. and he just told us about your grand grand for the boris big cup. and was a pretty a pariah chicken's times very well to do member of the press. and
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later he was persecuted why what was the reason why you should world the several answers to that question the immediate reason was that. stalin was about point confirming himself as establishing himself in power and there was still. a large number of. people who didn't necessarily support start this is the year of the great repression the great the great and so basically almost all of the leadership of the ukrainian party had supported cuba of who was the challenger in one and it was most of them not only the devil that in saying exactly so it was briefly an internal power power straw. within the party and stalin was illuminating his enemies but for me i think the more important question is how did this happen. and it's this question alexander
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solzhenitsyn with this question much better than i ever could he says he asks where does this wolf tribe come from where did it come from this came from among us because the line that divides good from evil goes through the heart of every man and who wants to cut a piece of his own heart when this this this paradox and this incredible horror could be unleashed by russian men doing what they thought was right but actually me poses a very complex moral question because my grandfather key field his personal revolution in bricks and mortar he was very active in building one of the greats of the giant factories of the first five year plan for the men who killed him shared the exact same philosophy they build the postal revolution in the enemies or in the bodies of the people they considered to be or have been told were enemies of the people and the only thing that was different was their probably their attitude to stalin some of them love their. service and some of them that they were going to get the years
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later just died well i think because we did not know and it was that person or two to murder because it's very it's very clear but you know. when you quoted this this phrase from soldier notes and i think it's true not only about this country but any country about the great inquisition you can say the same thing about it aliens this line that goes through the heart of the people here but not not not not and not many countries have practiced also genocide on the scale of russia's cambodia. you're right well now. some countries in europe practice there but it's it's. not an auto genocide lot of people even that even if there were nazis killed people who become so to be. a jerk. germany germany was pretty fucking. ok ok a little girl with your your grandmother your grandmother. would
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disappear too and if you were able also to find her trace there but that wasn't in the in the archives in the in the same secret no was she she she was sent to the gulag where wish wish she spent nearly fifty years sent to the gulag because of what her husband did you are. because it has a wife. as as the wife of an enemy of the people who owns and in the she she survived and she she came back to moscow and lived with her with her daughters but unfortunately she went to an insane. in the in the gulag and i met her. i remember it slightly very clearly when i was five she came to england once to meet her daughter who would by the time marriage or young britain and emigrated and she says and i i met her as
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a child puts my my portrait of her i was really composed of the memories of her daughters from my aunt and my mother you know where your great grandparents was very. into. my grandparents. my grandfather was pretty fun marx growing which there are hundreds around russia if i want to just be about it was not recently. you will know now before we start talking about your father and your mother the second problem the broke this empty soviet romance well i should say that in a closed society as the us is travelling abroad or even communicate your mother with foreigners was virtually unheard of any contact with somebody from abroad could mean big problems spotlighting porson. nine hundred twenty s. so young idealists from around the world coming to russia to take part in creating
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would be believed to be a better society as a nation with their ideas of socialism brought an estimated twenty thousand americans and canadians to the u.s.s.r. between one nine hundred twenty and one thousand two hundred fifty five many of them found they all are here a lot used to a disillusioned by the regime quickly enough to go home before the stalinist repressions of the 1930's i knew of those who stayed. to gulags russian families of the foreigners couldn't escape the same fate in one nine hundred forty seven cross border marriages were completely prohibited by soviet law it was difficult to break the law since or a few soviets 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 and foreigners were in the course of provision by the key g.b. even the right in russia their loved ones who were regarded as potential spies suspicion was enough for
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a person to lose their job and exulted to montreux germans it was not until the one nine hundred seventy s. early immigration was allowed russians had to realize that once they marry the foreigner and went abroad it was in most of the pieces the one we get out of the country relatives in france were stigmatized in the soviet union as not being fool to the regime the real freedom in their in somebody from abroad came on they were the cool apps of the u.s.s.r. . so we just saw how difficult it was to communicate. how did your father who came to russia in the sixty's manage to meet his fish or if you're living well to fall in love with their well to become real close than what he was actually one of the very first generation of postgraduate students there were that there were they were allowed to study it mostly university. as part of an academic exchange and that was about thanks to all short because already and after the death of stalin and the thaw for us that was the festival of euthanizing fifty
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seventy second with us were the first time my father came to russia along with through a sort of well you know yes part of that was that he was of the if he did not need your money then and he didn't need so much i'm not a child of the back. of the i was what fifty seven. but actually it means that. also doesn't make me because i was born during the festival. and i think there was enormous the importance of turning point for soviet 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 and not a fifty eight and then again as a as an academic in one hundred sixty three and then it was actually it was dangerous for people with something to lose and we foreigners because you could get in trouble with your job but my mother was a point of working as
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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 that it was they how they met somewhere somehow they went through a mutual friend my father knew from the first how i see and the connection was the bolshoi theatre. there was sort of below too much so so much of my mother loved the ballet and under some mutual friend of the ballet music and then you see each other but in fact even when they were introduced. their mutual friend called for you to go and get some didn't didn't introduce him was as an englishman and he said he said he's a stone you know why well because it was sort of and says not to frighten her son but if you do speak russian yiddish my father it's because her husband says he's be broken russian we could which book sounded like a lot like it but it's a. credit better than broken did he said he writes russian was better than me it
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was an accident anyway with this process so this is why your mother could have taken him from someone from the bottom of course only a bit. and they meant and and they fell in love and in fact naive you know it seems to us that they believe that they could get married on it and then they registered to get married but at that point. the k.g.b. and. had been trying to. recruit my father for some some years i'm not quite sure what they wanted why they thought he would be important or interesting but when he finally had a got a seven. fiance b. they had something on him and they gave him the offer him a deal an offer which they thought he couldn't refuse which was you know i mean 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
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was kicked out of the country near persona non-grata years before he was deported and what was the reason fishel reason like for dating a russian galloway and they don't know they actually set him up there they persuaded a. fellow graduate student to accuse him of economic speculation by selling junior jeans or going to something and it was a really really nasty story i mean when the government of the they threatened to throw this guy out of university and it was it was a sort of typical sort of nasty k.g.b. story so that basically bit lee they set him up i mean very obviously it would have been even conceal that it was the businessman human should have been very brave that after that. she continued keeping in touch with him in the in-tray to meet him intently to get into it and then are very i mean this was pretty brave indeed and that's what makes the whole story so extraordinary because to us it seems almost incredible as nine hundred sixty three it's the height of the cold war as it is it's the sisters are
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a huge cuban missile crisis and these two young people who've been separated very forceful forcibly by the soviet state decide that they're not going to take that for an answer they're not going to take no for an answer we're going to fight to be together and in that decision though we think it is partly it's naive but it's also it 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 oldest things about the whole story and something that surprised many western readers was that they were allowed to correspond they wrote to each other every day and the correspondence is magnificent and sinclair. be mutinous beautiful. glasses get got through some of the red planet but they corresponded freely ok well thank you very much for this interview i hope of a their readers will learn more from reading a book thank you and just to mind that my guest today was i went to met he was journalist and author of a book called stallions children and that's it for now from all this here spotlight
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we'll do that one more until then stay on r.t. and take care thank you. m. m. m. m m m
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