Adam Hochschild (travels in USSR), 1990

Adam Hochschild, Oct 29, 1990
Adam is an old friend, a remarkable writer, and the founder of Mother Jones magazine. He and Arlie (later?) spent six months in Moscow, where he did research for his book, Stalin’s Ghost, which deals with the psychological strains of coming to terms with Stalinism.

  • 1963 he went to USSR for 2 months.
  • 1978 Arlie and he both went, did a piece for Mother Jones, a dual biography of an uncle, interviewed people about that. Met Sakharov then. Spent evening at his house. He had not yet been exiled to Gorky, was godfather and protector of everybody who was in trouble with Soviet system about anything. He had open house that night, included Lev Kopelev and his wife Raisa Orlova, both prominent literary critics. He was in labor camps with Solzhinitzen. She is dead. They have kept in touch, were almost unique among recent emigrees in that they identified with the peace movement after they got here, and didn’t become right wingers. Good friends of Adam and Arlie, traveled with them in Europe one summer, etc.
  • 1984 he was part of delegation with Institute for Policy Studies in Washington and the Soviet gp was sponsored by USA Canada Institute. Had a week of immensely boring disucssions in Moscow, it was preGlasnost. When there were more than Mark Raskin, Saul Landau, George McGovern, Patricia Derian (Carter’s Human rights secretary) and Richard Barnet. Official discussions were boring but some of the people he met subsequently achieved high positions in the hierarchy. Met Arbatov, his chief deputy, (can’t recall his name), Henry Trofomenko, Sergei Karganov, who subsequently became one of Gorby’s top intellectual advisers. Adam was in the subgroup that talked about lessening Soviet-American tensions in the Third World. He recalls Soviets and Americans. Americans were all jet lagged. Adam had adjusted, the three of the 5 American representatives at the table were asleep. So useless that he couldn’t write a word about it. Pat Derian and he did go out to meet people of the Trust group one evening. The Fleyshgakkers, spent evening there. There was no one else. Arrived unannounced. They said to come back the next week for a mtg of the Trust group. Adam came back then, as approached apartment and noticed burly men in plainclothes, and they let him through because he looked like a foreigner, and let another guy (Lusnikov) through because he also looked like a foreigner, but everyone else was taken down to the local police station. Talked about ?_____?. Adam had expected more people to help with the language. He had recently been in Germany and had done a piece on the independent peace movement there. Some of them had even been in Moscow and had met with them.
  • 1985 went to do a story that appeared in Mother Jones about Soviets and Americans involved in two-way — Joseph Golden — totally in his own orbit. Mystic, prophet, abiding belief that the future of world peace is connected with two-way large screen television. He had been locked up 2-3 times and put in mental hospitals and injected with drugs but always got out because he has a protector very high up, Yevgeny Velikhov. All in Mother Jones piece.
  • Last time was in Oct 1988, with a delegation of people from US progressive magazines and newspapers, In these Times, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Joanne Landy, etc. About ten of them. Spent all their time meeting with members of various new independent political clubs. Remember any of them? Democratic Union, Valeria Novodvorskaya. Which is sort of vaguely Western European Christian Democrat in politics. An independent named Boris Kagarlitsky who writes a lot for the left press in UK and USA, book called The Thinking Reed, about Soviet dissident movements. Something sectarian about him that Adam didn’t like. Met with people from a number of other small groups. Joanne would have notes on most of them. Most of them democratic socialists. SMOT — federation of independent trade unions. Some religious dissidents. Publishers of little mags. By 88 almost anything was permissible but they couldn’t get paper and presses, etc. The line between official and unofficial was blurred. One of these groups arranged to meet them at office space, there about 20 of the Americans. They used the office of a mag published by the Soviet peace cttee, 20th century and peace. Met Grigoriants, head of Glasnost Mag.
  • Moscow Popular Front. He did a piece about this in early 89 on the Popular Front.

He will send me copies of his Mother Jones articles.

The Russian Quest for Peace and Democracy, by Metta Spencer, published by Lexington Books