Donald Rayfield

Open Season

Moscow 1956: The Silenced Spring


Harvard University Press 434pp £23.95 order from our bookshop

Most political springs in Russia terminate in a sudden frost and the silencing of the songbirds. That of 1956 was one of the more dramatic examples: spring came in February, with Nikita Khrushchev’s so-called ‘Secret Speech’ (which was soon common knowledge among even the lowest ranks in any Soviet organisation) denouncing Stalin’s crimes, and ended, after a few chilly moments, in November, when the Hungarian insurgency was crushed by Soviet tanks.

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