Monday 13 August 2007

Hands off Ivan

This morning I went along to listen to one of my favourite historians. I'd heard Norman Davies a year or two ago at the festival and enjoyed reading The Isles. Sadly I still had 120 pages to go of his 1,365-page Europe: A History by the time I arrived this morning.

Davies told us an excellent story. In the late 1980's the Polish government at last agreed to the publication of a Polish language version of his history of that country. The manuscript went to the local Communist party cultural authorities and they didn't object to a single word. However, the Soviet embassy also had to give its approval. After a few days Davies was told by the Soviets that certain alterations had to be made. Was it his criticism of Stalin? No. Of Lenin? No. The Gulag? No. The Soviet message was this: "We don't like your saying bad things about Ivan the Terrible."

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

David Farrer
See today.

15 August 2007, 22:14:23 GMT+01:00
– Like – Reply

Gus Abraham
Nothing about the launch of the referendum document? What aburt freedome and whisky? There's a summary of some of the links on the 'National Conversation' launch are at: http://1820. including to the document itself which is now available for download.  

14 August 2007, 16:50:24 GMT+01:00
– Like – Reply

Robert Speirs
How about Ivan the not-terribly-well-behaved?

14 August 2007, 16:06:08 GMT+01:00
– Like – Reply

All right, sport, we'll call him Ivan the Timid.

13 August 2007, 22:18:54 GMT+01:00