Lev Razgon

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Lev Emmanuilovich Razgon
Native name Лев Эммануилович Разгон
Born (1908-04-01)April 1, 1908
Horki, Horki Raion, Mogilev Governorate, Belarus, Russian Empire
Died September 8, 1999(1999-09-08) (aged 91)
Moscow, Russia
Occupation Writer and human rights activist
Citizenship  Russia
Alma mater Moscow State Pedagogical Institute
Notable awards Order of Merit for the Fatherland
Andrei Sakharov Prize For Writer's Civic Courage
Spouse Oksana Glebovna Bokiy, Rika Efremovna Berg

Lev Emmanuilovich Razgon (Russian: Лев Эммануи́лович Разго́н, 1 April 1908, Horki, Horki Raion, Mogilev Governorate – 8 September 1999, Moscow) was a Soviet and Russian writer, detainee of the Gulag, human rights activist.[1]

He was born to the family of Mendel Abramovich Razgon and Glika Izrailevna Shapiro. In 1932, he graduated from the history faculty of the Moscow State Pedagogical Institute.[2][3]

Razgon joined the NKVD in 1933[4] and for two years worked in its special department headed by his father-in-law. In 1937, after the arrest of his father-in-law Gleb Bokii, Razgon was expelled from the NKVD.[3]

On 18 April 1938, he was arrested[3] and spent the next 17 years in prisons, camps, and exile.[2] According to Anton Antonov-Ovseyenko, who called Razgon an “honoured provocateur”, he was repressed together with a group of “too assiduous torturers”, did not push a wheelbarrow in a camp, did not fell wood in taiga, and was not dying of starvation, but he worked as a work-assignment clerk in the prison camp and was an ally of governor of an operative Cheka department.[3][5] In 1955, he was released and rehabilitated.[2]

After rehabilitation he resumed his writing and published a number of books while writing his memoirs about gulag. He started publishing excerpts from his memoirs in literary magazines in 1987.

In 1988, the Ogonyok magazine published Lev Razgon's writing Zhena Prezidenta (President's Wife),[2] an unbelievable but true story featuring Ekaterina Kalinina, the wife of the first Soviet President Mikhail Kalinin, who served in labor camps in Komi taiga.

Together with Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Razgon was among the founders of the Memorial Society.[6] He was a member of the International PEN and the Commission for Clemency[3] created by Boris Yeltsin that worked for the abolition of death penalty in Russia and reform of the judicial system. In October 1993, Razgon was one of the signatories of the Letter of Forty-Two.[7]

Among his books are Shestaja Stantsiya (The Sixth Station, 1964), Odin God i Vsya Zhizn (One Year and All Life, 1973), Sila Tyazhesti (Force of Gravity, 1979), Zrimoe Znanie (Visible Knowledge, 1983),[6] Moskovskie Povesti (The Moscow Stories, 1983),[8] Nepridumannoye (The Not Made-up, 1988),[9] Pered Raskrytymi Delami (Before Revealed Cases, 1991),[10] Pozavchera i Segodnya (The Day before Yesterday and Today, 1995).[11] His book Nepridumannoye was also published under the title Plen v Svoyom Otechestve (Captivity in One's Own Homeland, 1994),[12][2] and was translated into English under the title True Stories in 1995.[13]


In 1998, Razgon was honoured with the Order of Merit for the Fatherland of the fourth class for his personal contribution to national literature, active participation in democratic reforms in Russia and in connection with his ninetieth birthday.[14] Razgon was also honoured with the Andrei Sakharov Prize For Writer's Civic Courage.[3]


  1. Shukman, Harry (22 September 1999). "Obituary: Lev Razgon". The Independent. Retrieved 18 August 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Писатели России. Автобиографии современников. Москва: Журналистское агентство «Гласность». 1998. pp. 386–390.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Зенькович, Николай (2005). Самые секретные родственники: Энциклопедия биографий. Москва: ОЛМА-ПРЕСС, Звездный мир. p. 285. ISBN 5-94850-408-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Варламов, Алексей (2011). "Зеленая книга". Oktyabr (№ 1): 166–172. Retrieved 22 August 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Антонов-Овсеенко, Антон (2003). Напрасный подвиг?. Москва: АСТ. p. 375. ISBN 5-17-017525-6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Умерла Наталья Разгон, дочь одного из основателей центра «Мемориал»". РИА Новости. 24 April 2011. Retrieved 18 August 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Писатели требуют от правительства решительных действий". Izvestia. 5 October 1993. Retrieved 21 August 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Разгон, Лев (1983). Московские повести. Москва: Детская литература.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Разгон, Лев (1988). Непридуманное. Москва: Издательство «Правда».<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Разгон, Лев (1991). Перед раскрытыми делами. Москва: Издательство «Правда».<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Разгон, Лев (1995). Позавчера и сегодня. Москва: Инфра-М. ISBN 5-86225-098-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Разгон, Лев (1994). Плен в своем отечестве. Москва: Книжный сад. ISBN 5856760255.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Razgon, Lev (1995). True stories: The memoirs of Lev Razgon. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Ardis. ISBN 0-87501-108-X.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Указ Президента РФ от 01.04.1998 N 335 "О награждении орденом "За заслуги перед отечеством" IV степени Разгона Л.Э."". Retrieved 18 August 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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