Escape From Paradise: A Russian Dissident’s Journey From the Gulag to the West


Shatravka, Alexander, Soviet Dissident

Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

This riveting memoir tells of the fate of a Soviet dissident, Alexander Shatravka, who tried to escape from the Soviet Union in the 1974, only to be caught and returned to nine years of imprisonment in Soviet psychiatric hospitals and labor camps. Released in 1986, just in time for the momentous changes of glasnost and perestroika, Shatravka eventually made his way to the West. Saturated with tales and memoirs from the other side of the Iron Curtain, Shatravka’s memoir of his escape, which he wrote for underground circulation, languished in obscurity and archives – until now. In a stunning translation from the original Russian by Shatravka’s ex-wife Catherine Fitzpatrick, his story of dashed hopes and ultimate fulfillment is as fresh as ever.

With the ranks of the once-vibrant Soviet dissident movement depleted by death and old age, we find each account valuable in a world where Soviet crimes against humanity never had their Nuremberg, and where the perpetrators were never brought to justice. With the return of the abuse of psychiatry under Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime, Shatravka’s tale is a timely warning about threats to freedoms so dear and yet so fragile.

Shatravka’s account also contributes a rare and invaluable look at Soviet provincial life, often overlooked in a field of literature dominated by urban elite dissidents, and captures the hopes and dreams of scores of ordinary people caught in the net of oppression.

History, Psychology, Memoir, Russia, Russian History, Soviet Union, Migration, Eurasian Studies, Psychiatric Abuse, Asylum Studies, International Law, Soviet Dissidents, Criminal Justice, Prison Studies
Release Date: 
June 1, 2019
978-1680534849 Hardcover
Trim Size: 

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