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tv   [untitled]    August 20, 2011 7:31pm-8:01pm EDT

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none the less that changed the course of history from the soviet union. now in our interview program spotlight we meet newsweek's moscow bureau chief own matthews he first came to moscow to find out the truth about his grandfather who died in prison camps he quickly became fascinated by the country and its people that's next on our . hello again and welcome to spotlight the n.c.t. show on r.t. i'm al gore no ventilation my guest is matthew chance the book he dedicated to his family 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
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fascinating story of his parents. in newsweek bureau chief in moscow and will 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 matthew's joins us today on spotlight. welcome to the show thank you very much for being with us. i want to go first of all hugh hewitt spent quite
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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. as a foreigner in life from a distance well i'm not sure what i would 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 that's i can't count that as my team and that's 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 a foreigner albeit a foreigner with quite close ties with with the russian language it's a foreigners journey into russia trying to explain so i'm trying to explain sort of for myself and try to explain for the reader so it's not
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a russian book about russia it's a foreigner's book about ok 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 russian is something something from a book here for you this is early because actually i'm now my my wife is russian and now i'm there for my children and our three quarters so now i mean i should probably feel more at home in moscow doing 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 recent pope overwrote from paris because she got to the revolution she spent some years in paris and she writes to her friend who's he remains in in leningrad the she can't bear this
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the she she misses the the visitor or the little one the little wind in russia. really 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 something you know more real if you do have this feeling for this that arc and stuff there then please tell me was it your idea to change the name the time of your novel when the because in russian it was published under a name quite a nice name anti soviet novel which is that we were we should always can be translated as and i said 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 it's not literally about the children of jews of
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starland with london but you. 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 of 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 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 who was executed in moresby because he was executed in one hundred 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 which is
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a list because the second which is the sort of romantic story of my my father a welshman and and his. fiance and how they struggled for six years to. get married and have a question about the russian version of 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 peasant but if they if there's an estate you carry a hammer and sickle you are scary an x. . know whose idea. it was it was just a joke it's really hard is it is just a joke 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. to continue to be the work of the president of minnesota the actual picture i mean it's a it is a it was a shot of today it's
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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. so they had neither am i nor. in the library i don't know but the numbers they got 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. tell me about the book tell me about the book first of all the critics already said that there are too many cliches able to be cliches about russia and that they're going to go 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 more found sense i mean indeed 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. underworld 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 universe a nasty underbelly and it affected me very deeply the homeless children and 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. 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 of a dead now and the k.g.b. now the first and then there are the f.s.b. and their archives away you actually like the story of your grandfather boris big book of who was who was a party a party apparatchik and then 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 leg 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 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 keith its secrets in the closet and the the people in power in the kremlin prefer to close the whole store to live as part of the k.g.b. only cards they were kept by the by the ye 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 rights for relatives to 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 letter back saying you know your your copus is here and you can you can you can view it and it's indeed and in a terrifying document you have you know you just walk into the building you give 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 photocopy there's some technical issue . something far different from particular but the most interesting detail is that. eve 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 leaf into this file and. as you know old russian script is very hard to read seriously helping me to read it and this part of the file was taped. taped together and he eventually succumbed also to curiosity and
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taped 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 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 ton and there's nobody left because they didn't want people to know about it but why did they give you the tape version just kept this low because it it's all it's all the time together. says that he is a journalist a true gentleman says we here and author of a book called stolen children spotlight of all the back shortly right after the break so stay with us we'll continue in less than a. man's
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. closer. to your life. to the max air show. wealthy british science. market why not. find out what's really happening to the global economy with mike's culture the no holds barred look at the global financial headlines tune
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in to the report on our. walkin back to spotlight in just a reminder that my guest in the studio today is one that 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 boris big car . was a pretty apparatchik in the soviet times very well to do member of the soviet nomenclature and later he was persecuted why what was the reason why did they shoot it well there's several answers to that question the immediate reason was that. stalin was about point confirming himself as establishing himself in power
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and there was still. a large number of. people who didn't necessarily support starless in fear of the great repression the great the great and so basically almost all of the leadership of the ukrainian party had supported cubans who was a challenger in one who was murdered in one of the devil leningrad same exact thing so it was briefly and internal power power strong. within the party and stalin was eliminated as 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
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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 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 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 personal attitude to stellan some of them love them more. some of them less well if they were going to get laid and just died well 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 of there not only about about this country but
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any country about the great inquisition you can say the same thing about it delhi and 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 cambodia right right here right well now. some countries in europe practice there but i'd say it's not subject at all that now but not all to genocide not of the own people even that even if there were nazis killed people who they considered to be. a jerk. germany germany was pretty popular so ok ok well let's go to be able to hear your grandmother your grandmother. would disappear 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 as 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
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of what her husband did you know or. because it has a wife. as well as the wife of an enemy of the people and. in the she she survived and she she came back to moscow and lived with her with her daughters but unfortunately she went in in the room 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 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.
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my grandfather was buried in unmarked grave of which there were hundreds around russia if i when was just on earth going to cost of recently. if you will know now before we start talking about your father and your mother the second part of the book this empty soviet romance well i should say that in a closed society as the us is travelling abroad or even communicate yes your mother with foreigners was virtually unheard of any contact with 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
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go home before the stalin's repressions of the 1930's many of those who stayed were 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 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 to brood it was in most of the cases one way ticket out of the country relatives in france was stigmatized in the soviet union as not being fooled
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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 to foreigners how did your father ok me to russia in the sixties 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 to work that were allowed to study at most universities 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 the first he did not meet your mother no no he didn't meet so my i'm not a child of the french. but the i was born in fifty seven. but actually
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it means that end of that also doesn't make me. because i was what 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 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. as an academic 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 marches or the. they how they met somewhere somewhere or they met through mutual friends how my father knew from the first and how i see
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the connection was the bolshoi theater and. there was a brother to my. mother my mother love the ballet and this mutual friend of the ballet and he said and then did you see each other but in fact even when they were introduced. their mutual friend called for you to go it's an didn't 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 no more but if you do speak russian yiddish my father it's because. he's broken russian we could which could sound like a lot like it but. it is credit better than broken. he said he writes a russian much better than me if it was an accident tell you he said this is why your mother could have taken him from someone from the baltic 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 they they they registered to
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get married but at that 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 interesting but when he finally had got a sober. 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 what was the reason the official reason for dating a russian gallow was no no they actually set him up there they persuaded a. fellow graduate student to accuse him of economic speculation by selling jean
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le jeans or any of them or something in and it was a really really nasty story i mean they're off of the road to throw this guy out of university and 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 it would have been even conceal that it was the it wasn't the new mum should have been very brave after that because she continued keeping in touch with him and enter and try to meet him in 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 soviet 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 it partly is naive but it's also insanely brave and it would be crazy if it weren't
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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 was that they were allowed to correspond they wrote to each other every day and the correspondence is magnificent it's increase. be moving it's beautiful. but alas it's got to go through some of the more red but they correspondents really 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. heavy
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gunfire and explosions are reported in the libyan capital but independent sources on the ground say it's all part of a nato does information campaign. here in israel activists are taking to the streets they say they believe the government is trying to use the conflict to divert attention away from to make take issues and this is happening as israel continues its a bombardment of gaza with hamas ending its peace treaty with the jewish state. and we explore the events of august one thousand nine hundred one which gave birth to modern russian democracy. bringing you the top news and stories from around the globe direct from moscow this is r.t. glad to have you with us heavy gunfire and explosions are reported in the libyan.


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