Roy Medvedev

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For other people of the same name, see Medvedev.

Roy Aleksandrovich Medvedev (Russian: Рой Александрович Медведев; born 14 November 1925, Tbilisi, Georgia) is a Russian political writer renowned as the author of the dissident history of Stalinism, Let History Judge (Russian: К суду истории), first published in English in 1972. Medvedev became a prominent Russian public figure and served as a consultant to Mikhail Gorbachev.[citation needed]

Early life and education[edit]

Roy Medvedev was the son of Aleksander Romanovich Medvedev, a professor of Military-Political Academy and has an identical twin brother, the biologist Zhores Medvedev. Their father was arrested in 1938, during one of Joseph Stalin's purges, and died in a labor camp in 1941.

Medvedev graduated from the Leningrad University. After joining the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1956 Medvedev pursued a teaching career before becoming a researcher in the Soviet Academy of Pedagogical Sciences.

Dissident historian[edit]

From a Marxist viewpoint, Medvedev criticized former Russian General Secretary Joseph Stalin, and Stalinism in general, during the Soviet era. In the early 1960s, Medvedev was engaged in samizdat publications. He was critical of the unscientific nature of Lysenkoism.

In 1969, Medvedev was expelled from the Communist Party after the publication of his book Let History Judge, which criticized Stalin and Stalinism at a time when official Soviet propagandists were trying to partially rehabilitate the former dictator. Let History Judge reflected the dissident thinking that emerged in the 1960s among Soviet intellectuals who, like Medvedev, sought a reformed, democratic socialism and a return to Leninism. He announced his position, along with Andrei Sakharov and others, in an open letter to the Soviet leadership in 1970.

Medvedev was often subject to house arrest and KGB harassment under Leonid Brezhnev, but managed to publish numerous critical writings on Soviet history and politics abroad. Medvedev was oppressed for his active support of democracy after he successfully published Let History Judge abroad in the late 1960s.

In a book co-authored with his identical twin brother, Zhores, A Question of Madness, Medvedev describes Zhores' involuntary commitment in the Kaluga Psychiatric Hospital. Zhores, a dissident biologist, was questioned at the Kaluga psychiatric facilities about his involvement with samizdat, and about the book he had written, The Rise and Fall of T.D. Lysenko; Zhores was exiled to Britain in the 1970s.

Medvedev returned to the ruling party in 1989, after Mikhail Gorbachev launched his perestroika and glasnost program of gradual political and economic reforms. He was elected to the Soviet Union's Congress of People's Deputies and was named as member of the Supreme Soviet, the permanent working body of the Congress. After the collapse of the Soviet government, Medvedev joined with dozens of other former communist deputies of the Soviet and Russian parliaments to found the Socialist Party of Working People, becoming a co-chair of the party.

Medvedev supports the current President of Russia and former Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.[citation needed]

Publications in English[edit]

  • A Question Of Madness (with Zhores Medvedev). Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York. 1971. ISBN 0-394-47900-9 ISBN 0-14-003783-7
  • Khrushchev: The Years in Power (with Zhores Medvedev). 198 pages. Columbia University Press. 1976. ISBN 0-231-03939-5
  • On Soviet Dissent Columbia University Press. 1979. ISBN 0-231-04812-2
  • Philip Mironov and the Russian Civil War (with Sergei Starikov) Alfred Knopf. 1978. ISBN 0-394-40681-8
  • Nikolai Bukharin: The Last Years. 176 pages. W W Norton & Co Inc. 1983. ISBN 0-393-30110-9
  • Let History Judge: The Origins and Consequences of Stalinism (Revised and expanded edition). Columbia University Press. 1989. ISBN 0-231-06350-4
  • Post-Soviet Russia: A Journey Through the Yeltsin Era (with George Shriver). 394 pages. Columbia University Press. 2002. ISBN 0-231-10607-6
  • The Unknown Stalin (with Zhores Medvedev). The Overlook Press. 336 pages. 2004. ISBN 1-58567-502-4
  • China and the Superpowers. Basil Blackwell. Oxford. 1986. ISBN 0-631-13843-9


  • Inside Russia Today. David K. Shipler.

External links[edit]