Soviet Dissident Yuli Daniel; Imprisoned for Publishing Abroad
Yuli Daniel, a satirist and poet whose 1966 trial with Andrei Sinyavsky was a worldwide sensation and marked the beginning of a long crackdown on dissidents, died at his home Friday, his former wife said.
Larisa Bogoraz, a veteran of the Soviet dissident movement who was Daniel’s wife when he was sentenced to five years in prison and labor camp, said he died of a stroke. Daniel was 63 and had been in ill health for years.
Daniel’s most famous work, “This is Moscow Calling,” satirically called for a “Public Murder Day,” in which Soviets over the age of 16 would be allowed to kill someone as long as it was not a policeman or a public transport worker.
Published Under Glasnost
Under Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev’s policy of glasnost, or greater openness, some of Daniel’s works written in prison camp were published in Moscow in July as he lay in a hospital.
Daniel and Sinyavsky, conscious of the ostracism of Nobel Prize-winning author Boris Pasternak for publishing his novel “Doctor Zhivago” abroad, used the pseudonyms Nikolai Arzhak and Abram Terts, respectively, to publish their works abroad.
Despite persecution of writers such as Pasternak, Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev’s years were relatively free for writers, and came to be known as “The Thaw.”
But Daniel and Sinyavsky were arrested in the autumn of 1965, less than a year after Khrushchev was ousted by a group of Kremlin leaders from which Leonid I. Brezhnev eventually would emerge as the most powerful.
Daniel received a five-year term in prison and labor camp for illegally publishing his works abroad, and Sinyavsky was sentenced to seven years. It was the first time that criminal charges were brought against Soviet intellectuals for literary criticism of the Soviet system.
Dissidents, KGB agents and foreign correspondents huddled outside the Moscow courtroom where they were tried, and rushed to get word of the proceedings when the defendants’ wives would come out during breaks. News of the trial was broadcast back into the Soviet Union by foreign radio stations.
The Kremlin followed their trial with a long and determined crackdown on dissidents and unofficial publications, but during the late 1960s unofficial publications and the number of dissidents grew nevertheless.
Ended Dissident Activities
Daniel lived and worked in Kaluga and Moscow after he finished his prison term, but did not take part in further dissident activities. Sinyavsky emigrated to Paris after serving his term.
The publication Ogonyok, in printing Daniel’s prison camp poetry, called him a “war veteran and man of difficult fate.”
Included in the poems published in July was “The Ring,” in which Daniel appeared to be describing his trial as a boxing match.
Bogoraz said that Daniel was survived by his wife, Irina Uvarova, a son and grandson.