Yuli Daniel

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Yuli Markovich Daniel
The bookcover of The Letters from Prison
The bookcover of The Letters from Prison
Native name
Юлий Маркович Даниэль
Born(1925-11-15)November 15, 1925
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
DiedDecember 30, 1988(1988-12-30) (aged 63)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Pen nameNikolay Arzhak, Yu. Petrov
SpouseLarisa Bogoraz, Irina Uvarova[1]
ChildrenAlexander Daniel[2]

Yuli Markovich Daniel (Russian: Ю́лий Ма́ркович Даниэ́ль, IPA: [ˈjʉlʲɪj ˈmarkəvʲɪtɕ dənʲɪˈelʲ] (About this soundlisten); 15 November 1925 — 30 December 1988) was a Soviet dissident writer, poet, translator, and political prisoner. He frequently wrote under the pseudonyms Nikolay Arzhak (Russian: Никола́й Аржа́к, IPA: [nʲɪkɐˈlaj ɐrˈʐak] (About this soundlisten)) and Yu. Petrov (Russian: Ю. Петро́в, IPA: [ˈju pʲɪˈtrof] (About this soundlisten)).

Early life and World War II[edit]

Yuli Daniel was born in Moscow, the son of the Yiddish playwright M. Daniel (Mark Meyerovich, Russian: Марк Наумович Меерович). In 1942, during World War II, Yuli Daniel lied about his age and volunteered to serve on the 2nd Ukrainian and the 3rd Belorussian fronts. In 1944 he was critically wounded in his legs and was demobilized.

Writing and arrest[edit]

In 1950, Daniel graduated from Moscow Pedagogical Institute, and went to work as a schoolteacher in Kaluga and Moscow. He also published translations of verse from a variety of languages, and, like his friend Andrei Sinyavsky, wrote topical stories and novellas ("Moscow Speaking") and smuggled them to France to be published under pseudonyms (see samizdat). Daniel married Larisa Bogoraz, who later also became a famous dissident.

In 1965, Daniel and Sinyavsky were arrested and tried in the infamous Sinyavsky-Daniel trial. Both writers entered a plea of not guilty. On February 14, 1966, Daniel was sentenced to five years of hard labor for "anti-Soviet activity".

In 1967, Andrei Sakharov appealed directly to Yuri Andropov on behalf of Daniel. Sakharov was told that both Daniel and Sinyavsky would be released under a general amnesty on the fiftieth anniversary of the October revolution. This turned out to be false, as the amnesty did not apply to political prisoners.[3]

Late years and influence[edit]

According to Fred Coleman, "Historians now have no difficulty pinpointing the birth of the modern Soviet dissident movement. It began in February 1966 with the trial of Andrei Sinyavsky and Yuli Daniel, two Russian writers who ridiculed the Communist regime in satires smuggled abroad and published under pen names. They didn't realize at the time that they were starting a movement that would help end Communist rule."[4] Sinyavsky and Daniel did not intend to oppose the Soviet Union. Daniel was genuinely worried about a resurgence of the Cult of Personality under Khrushchev, which inspired his story "This is Moscow Speaking", while Sinyavsky affirmed that he believed Socialism was the way forward but that the methods employed were at times erroneous.

After four years of captivity in Mordovia labor camps of Dubravlag and one year in Vladimir Prison, Daniel refused to emigrate (as was customary among Soviet dissidents) and lived in Kaluga.

Before his death Bulat Okudzhava acknowledged that some translations published under Okudzhava's name had in fact been ghostwritten by Daniel, who was on the list of authors banned from being published in the Soviet Union.


  1. ^ "Soviet dissident Yuli Daniel; imprisoned for publishing abroad". The Los Angeles Times. 1 January 1989.
  2. ^ Spender, Stephen (May 1994). "With concern for those not free". Index on Censorship. 23 (1–2): 78–79. doi:10.1080/03064229408535641.
  3. ^ Sakharov, Andrei (1990). Memoirs. London: Hutchinson. pp. 276–277. ISBN 978-0091746360.
  4. ^ Coleman, Fred (1997). The decline and fall of Soviet empire: forty years that shook the world, from Stalin to Yeltsin. St. Martin's Griffin. p. 95. ISBN 978-0-312-16816-2.


  • "Бегство" (The Escape), 1956
  • "Человек из МИНАПа" (A Man from MINAP), 1960 [1]
  • "Говорит Москва" (Report from Moscow), 1961 [2]
  • "Искупление" (The Redemption), 1964
  • "Руки" (The Hands)
  • "Письмо другу" (A Letter to a Friend), 1969
  • "Ответ И.Р.Шафаревичу" (The Response to Igor Shafarevich), 1975
  • "Книга сновидений" (A Book of Dreams)
  • "Я все сбиваюсь на литературу..." Письма из заключения. Стихи (The Letters from Prison), 1972 (ISBN 0-87955-501-7)
  • "This is Moscow Speaking", and Other Stories, Collins, Harvill: London, 1968, translated by Michael Scammell.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]