Andrei Siniavskii Papers
Andrei Siniavskii was a Soviet dissident, writer and literary critic and student of literature. The bulk of the collection includes his writings, correspondence and photographs. It is an extensive collection, containing material that he produced and collected over his lifetime, together with his wife Mariia Rozanova, who was lesser known but also a significant figure in the dissident movement. These include his writings, diaries, correspondence, interrogation and records from the 1966 trial of Siniavskii and another writer Yuli Daniel, printed matter, sound recordings, photographs, and memorabilia relating to Russian literature, civil rights in the Soviet Union, political trials and conditions of political prisoners in the Soviet Union, and Russian émigré affairs. This collection also includes records of the Russian-language Paris journal Sintaksis, published and edited by Siniavskii himself.
434 Galvez Mall, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
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Name of collection
- Siniavskii (Andrei) Papers 1916-1998
Provenance and cultural activities
Andrei Sinaivskii was a literary critic, writer and dissident. Thus the content of the collection deals primarily with his cultural views, his interpretations of Russian literature and its development. To call him a political dissident would probably be incorrect. He himself pointed out that his disagreement with the Soviet regime was “aesthetic” not political. For that reason alone, he was not considered a dissident in the classical sense of the term, which depicts them as proponents of human rights and political changes. Certainly, he supported some of these endeavors, but his primary interest was in the cultural sphere, literature in particular. Thus the collection documents mainly these literary activities… his writings, his reviews and interpretations of Russian culture and literature and its development. Sinavskii was eventually forced out of the country, much like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and became an exile. He likely engaged with other Russian émigrés in Paris, but it is not clear whether he was plugged into the community or did his own thing. He was not an organizer or leader, so the scope of his involvement is unclear.
The Hoover Institution Archives (HIA) at Stanford University acquired the collection in 1998 from Siniavskii’s wife Mariia Rozanova, who sought a home for Siniavskii's papers after his death in 1997. This is an important collection for understanding the nature of resistance to communism in the Soviet Union in various periods, particularly among writers. Siniavskii did not collect these materials with a particular outcome in mind. These papers are the byproduct of his life and work as a creator. Papers, drafts, correspondence, photographs, family treasures, and even Siniavskii’s own KGB interrogation files accumulated as they would in most people’s lives, slowly overt time. Also included are other people’s writings that were sent to him as the editor of Syntaksis, which was an important émigré periodical that he established in 1978. The establishment of Syntaksis was partly the byproduct of a philosophical dispute with the editors of another Paris-based émigré journal Kontinent, which Siniavskii felt had become intolerant of differences of opinion. The purpose of Syntaksis was to offer a space for greater pluralism of opinion, offer a way for members of Russian, Ukrainian, and other exile communities to establish a dialogue about questions of culture, politics, and their intersection, as well as literary issues and cultural production more broadly. The objective was to create and foster dialogue, not to collect. Some of these materials Siniavskii brought out of the country when he emigrated in 1973, but the bulk of the materials were produced abroad. He pretty much lived in one place and then the materials came to the Hoover Archives in 1998.
Description of content
The Andrei Siniavskii papers consist of material related to the life and work of the Russian writer and political activist Andrei Siniavskii, both in Russia and abroad, from the 1930's to 1997. The collection includes a wealth of biographical material related to his family and childhood, found in the series related to his parents, Donat Siniavskii and Evdokiia-Torkhova-Siniavskaia. Of special interest, here, are the diaries of his mother, which include descriptions of his childhood and childhood drawings. The biographical file further includes documentary material related to the trial of Andrei Siniavskii and Yuli Daniel, as well as reports in the Western press about his arrest, trial and exile to France. A major part of the collection consists of Siniavskii's scholarly work and creative writing, found in the speeches and writings series, including preparatory material, drafts and printed copies of writings on scholarly, political and cultural subjects, as well as creative writing under the pseudonym of Abram Terts. Also of interest is material related to his political activity, especially as seen through the eyes of the Western media, including newspaper interviews and radio programs. Finally, the collection as a whole reflects the political and cultural life of the late-Soviet emigration (1970's-1980's). Of special interest in this respect is the Sintaksis file, which reflects the development of one particular trend within the former dissident movement.
- grey literature (regular archival documents such as brochures, bulletins, leaflets, reports, intelligence files, records, working papers, meeting minutes): 1000-
- legal and/or financial documentation: unknown quantity
- manuscripts (ego-documents, diaries, notes, letters, drafts, etc.): unknown quantity
- photos: unknown quantity
- publications (books, newspapers, articles, press clippings): unknown quantity
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
Moscow , Russia
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Important events in the history of the collection
- completely open to the public
Author(s) of this page
- Kulick, Orysia Maria
Fenander, Sara. "Author and Autocrat: Tertz's Stalin and the Ruse of Charisma." The Russian Review 58, no. 2 (April 1999), 286-297. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2679580.
Labedz, Leopold, Abram Terts, Iuliĭ Daniėlʹ, and Max Hayward. On trial: the case of Sinyavsky (Tertz) and Daniel (Arzhak). London: Collins, Harvill P., 1967.
Murav, Harriet. "Sinyavsky's Trial." The Slavic and East European Journal 42, no. 3 (Fall 1998), 389-393.
Nepomnyashchy, Catharine Theimer. Abram Tertz and the Poetics of Crime. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995.
Nepomnyashchy, Catherine. "Andrei Donatovich Sinyavsky (1925-1997)." The Slavic and East European Journal 42, no. 3 (Fall 1998), 367-371.
Siniavskiĭ, A., Iuliĭ Daniėlʹ, and Aleksandr Ginzburg. Belaia kniga o dele A. Siniavskogo i IU. Daniėlia. Moskva [i.e. Frankfurt am Main]: Posev, 1967.
Sinyavsky, Andrei. "Émigré." Encounter, September 1978.
Shmelev, Anatol , interview by Kulick, Orysia Maria, May 31, 2016. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection