Why not, then, publish Solzhenitsyn's ``Gulag Archipelago''? Or does he have any chance of being published because he is in the West?
I put this question to Sergei Dovlatov, author of several novels, including ``The Compromise'' and a soon-to-be published collection of short stories about his family called ``Nashi.'' Dovlatov wasn't sure about Solzhenitsyn's chances. ``I think,'' he said, ``that maybe they might publish Solzhenitsyn. For propaganda.''
DOVLATOV feels that prospects in general for 'emigr'e writers are not that good. Though he agrees that glasnost is significant - writers in the Soviet Union are enjoying some creative liberties - he explained that 'emigr'es living in the West are the enemy, a threatening and potentially dangerous symbol of the West. To publish them is not a risk the Soviets are ready to take.
Dovlatov believes that as long as the Soviet Union is a one-party state, with official censorship, total glasnost is impossible. ``Gorbachev thinks Stalin was a bad censor and that he is a better one,'' Dovlatov said. ``But the whole idea of a censor is criminal and against culture. I hate all of them.'' Dovlatov's dream is that one day he will be published in the Soviet Union. He is 55 and never has been.
Nor has Dimitry Savitsky, who was an underground poet in Moscow and has written four books since he went to Paris in 1979. (His first book in English translation, tentatively titled ``From Nowhere with Love,'' is forthcoming from Grove Press.)
He, too, wants his books to circulate in the Soviet Union, because he feels it is important for a writer to be understood in his own language. But he doubts that this is likely; he admits his writings are ``strongly anti-Soviet.'' Yet he insists that there is no reason not to publish living 'emigr'e writers.
``What's the big deal in publishing Pasternak?'' Savitsky asked. ``If you want to talk freedom, let's publish Sinyavsky! Let's publish Limonov! Brodsky! This will not hurt them [the Soviets].''