A Spy in the Archives
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Sheila Fitzpatrick was outed as all but a spy in a Soviet newspaper in 1968
In 1968 historian Sheila Fitzpatrick was 'outed' by the Russian newspaper Sovetskaya Rossiya as all but a spy for Western intelligence. She was in Moscow at the time, working in Soviet archives for her doctoral thesis on AV Lunacharsky, the first Soviet Commissar of Enlightenment after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.
Despite KGB attention, and the impossibility of finding a suitable winter coat, Sheila felt more at ease in Moscow than in Britain—a feeling cemented by her friendships with Lunacharsky's daughter, Irina, and brother-in-law, Igor, a reform-minded old Bolshevik who became a surrogate father and a intellectual mentor. An affair with young Communist activist, Sasha, pulled her further into a world in which she already felt at home. For the Soviet authorities and archives, however, she would always be marked as a foreigner, and so potentially a spy.
Punctuated by letters to her mother in Melbourne and her diary entries of the time, and borne along by Fitzpatrick's wry, insightful narrative, A Spy in the Archives captures the life and times of Cold War Russia.
About the author
Sheila Fitzpatrick is an Honorary Professor in the Department of History at The University of Sydney, and the Bernadotte E. Schmitt Distinguished Service Professor in Modern Russian History at the University of Chicago. In the early 1970s, Sheila moved from Britain to the United States where she made her career as a Soviet historian. By the 1990s she was considered a founder of the field of Soviet history.
This is her second book of memoirs. My Father's Daughter, published in 2010, won the Australian Historical Association's Magarey Medal for Biography.