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Doctor Zhivago

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“No single man makes history. History cannot be seen, just as one cannot see grass growing. Wars and revolutions, kings and Robespierres, are history's organic agents, its yeast. But revolutions are made by fanatical men of action with one-track mind, geniuses in their ability to confine themselves to a limited field. They overturn the old order in a few hours or days, the whole upheaval takes a few weeks or at most years, but the fanatical spirit that inspired the upheavals is worshiped for decades thereafter, for centuries. ”

- Boris Leonidovich Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago

 

CIA Publishes Doctor Zhivago in Russian and Exposes Life in USSR under Communism

The CIA has declassified 99 documents describing the CIA’s role publishing Boris Leonidovich Pasternak’s epic novel, Doctor Zhivago, for the first time in Russian in 1958 after it had been banned from being published in the Soviet Union. The Zhivago project was one of many CIA-supported covert publishing programs that involved distributing banned books, periodicals, pamphlets, and other materials to intellectuals in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. This collection provides a glimpse into a thoughtful plan to accomplish fast turn-around results without doing harm to foreign partners or Pasternak. Following the publication of Doctor Zhivago in Russian in 1958, Pasternak won the Nobel Prize for Literature, the popularity of the book skyrocketed, and the plight of Pasternak in the Soviet Union received global media attention. Moscow had hoped to avoid these precipitous outcomes by initially refusing to publish the novel two years earlier. There is no indication in this collection that having Pasternak win the Nobel Prize was part of the Agency’s original plan; however, it contributed to appeals to Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, and it was a blow to those who insisted that the Soviets in 1958 enjoyed internal freedom. Of note, the documents in this collection show how effective “soft power” can influence events and drive foreign policy.

Documents in this Collection

Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®

FOIA

19590423 CABLE AEDINOSAUR

Document Number: 0005796401
Pages:
1
AttachmentSize
DOC_0005796401.pdf37.1 KB

FOIA

19590428 CABLE AEDINOSAUR

Document Number: 0005796405
Pages:
1
AttachmentSize
DOC_0005796405.pdf45 KB

FOIA

19590716 MEMORANDUM ON PUBLICATION OF THE MINIATURE EDITION OF DR. ZHIVAGO

Document Number: 0005796406
Pages:
2
AttachmentSize
DOC_0005796406.pdf66.13 KB

FOIA

19590924 MEMORANDUM FOR THE RECORD: MEETING ON SR DIVISION PROJECT AEDINOSAUR

Document Number: 0005796413
Pages:
3
AttachmentSize
DOC_0005796413.pdf163.64 KB

FOIA

19590925 NOTIFICATION OF PROJECT APPROVAL: AEDINOSAUR - RENEWAL FY 1960

Document Number: 0005796420
Pages:
7
AttachmentSize
DOC_0005796420.pdf195.08 KB

FOIA

19591014 MEMORANDUM FOR COMMERCIAL STAFF FROM THE ASSISTANT GENERAL COUNSEL: CONTRACT PROPOSAL FOR PUBLICATION PROJECT

Document Number: 0005796423
Pages:
2
AttachmentSize
DOC_0005796423.pdf128.82 KB

FOIA

19591021 MEMORANDUM FOR THE RECORD FROM ASSISTANT GENERAL COUNSEL: AEDINOSAUR

Document Number: 0005796429
Pages:
4
AttachmentSize
DOC_0005796429.pdf384.8 KB

FOIA

UNDATED EXCERPTS FROM REPORT: ANALYSIS OF PASTERNAK AND DR. ZHIVAGO AMONG STUDENTS

Document Number: 0005795612
Pages:
4
AttachmentSize
DOC_0005795612.pdf264.76 KB

Pages