Russians in America: The Third Wave



Any attempt to list the number of writers who participated in the Third Wave runs the risk of omission. One can make large distinctions such as between poets and prose writers. I have also chosen to focus attention on those writers who lived and worked in the United States during the period from 1970-1986. One of the writers, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Александр Солженицын), is considered by many, in spite of or perhaps because of his international fame, to be outside the realm of The Third Wave.


To my knowledge no attempt has been made to identify all of the literary critics abroad. I have concentrated on the work of Aleksandr Genis (Александр (Саша) Генис) and Petr Vail' (Петр Вайль), both of whom worked for Новый Американец, Новое Русское Слово and Семь дней and lived in the New York area. This area of research deserves closer scrutiny by others.


Carl and Ellendea Proffer at Ardis lead the way, but they were followed by Igor Efimov (Игорь Ефимов) at Hermitage, and others such as Aleksandr Glezer (Александр Глезер), editor and publisher of Sagittarius (Стрелец) and the publishing house The Third Wave (Третья волна). Valery Chalidze continued his human rights' campaign through Khronika (Хроника) and then Chalidze Publications. Some of the writers published in the well established Новый Журнал, but this publication focused on writers of the Second Wave, i.e. post WW II. While I provide links to information on some of the other editors abroad, this section is primarily devoted to American sources.

Historians and Scholars

John Glad has documented the emigration both as a contemporary and now as historian. John in his role at the Kennan Institute had close contact with many of the Soviet intellectuals in the United States. He did a series of video interviews, later published both in Russian and English translation. John also compiled Russia Abroad (1999), the single best source of information in English of The Third Wave. Ivan Tolstoy of Radio Liberty is well known as an expert on the emigration. Garik Superfin (Гарик Суперфин) of the Forschungsstelle-OstEuropa at the University of Bremen has assembled an invaluable collection related to the Third Wave, and in particular of "samizdat" materials. Olga Matich (Ольга Матич) edited a volume of papers and talks delivered by Russian writers at the Conference on The Third Wave held in USC in 1981. More recently there are a number of Russian literary scholars who have attended to the period. Librarians and archivists referenced in other places are also turning attention to the period. And the eyewitnesses, Genis, Vail', Dovlatov (Довлатов), Efimov (Ефимов), and others have had works published on both sides of the Atlantic documenting the period


Groups and Organizations

Russian émigrés to the United States received support from a variety of organizations, private and governmental. They also organized themselves as had earlier emigrations into writers' clubs.


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