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25 of 33 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars violent fantasy, 13 July 2010
This review is from: Siberian Education (Paperback)
Just one thing about Lilin's 'Siberian Education' is true: he was a juvenile delinquent (apparently, Kolia Verzhbitsky), brought up by his grandfather (Boris, not Kuzia) in Transnistria.
The rest is demonstrably made up to create a publishing sensation. Consider, if you are reading this book:
1)There never was such a thing as a Siberian urka community. Urka is just Russian for a convict serving a fixed term of hard labour: they were in Siberia as part of their punishment;
2) Stalin never deported any criminals from Siberia to Transnistria: all deportations were from Europe to the Far North or Siberia. Criminals who were particularly obnoxious were shot, or sent a thousand miles nearer the North Pole;
3) He could certainly not have sent them to Bendery in Transnistria, because at the time this town was in Romania;
4) Lilin never explains how he, as a Transnistrian citizien, was eventually called up into the Russian army, nor how, as a convicted criminal, he was given a residence permit in Italy;
5) His grandfather Kuzya is said to have survived 8 bullets from a firing squad and then been allowed to go: something utterly unique in the history of the USSR, if not mankind;
6) There is no danger, as the 'novel' implies, in Lilin revealing secrets of Russian criminal tattoos or slang - whole books and internet sites are devoted to them already

If you like an orgy of senseless violence, then stick with Tarantino, whose work is at least witty and ingeniously plotted. This farrago seems to be no more than a fantasist's ravings. As for the morality, Lilin has mixed up the code of Russian 'thieves-in-the-law' (a sort of Kray brothers' union) with the rituals of the Orthodox Old Believers. It's no wonder that this novel is being translated into 28 languages, but not into Russian, Ukrainian or Moldavian, which would immediately lead to Lilin's exposure as an impostor.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 1 Jun 2011 13:03:45 BDT
Last edited by the author on 1 Jun 2011 13:16:27 BDT
A. Thor says:
I'm sure all sensible readers have their doubts about the authenticity of many parts of this book. But if one is going to attack an author it can be done without an arrogant tone and by putting forward arguments that are a bit more convincing than just speculation.

"2) Stalin never deported any criminals from Siberia to Transnistria: all deportations were from Europe to the Far North or Siberia. Criminals who were particularly obnoxious were shot, or sent a thousand miles nearer the North Pole."

This makes no sense. In the book it says that it was the women, children and the old that were resettled not the criminals. And not all the deportations were from Europe to the Far North or Siberia. For example Kulaks were deported to Caucassus, Kazakh, Kyrgyz. Kazaks even to Mongolia, Afganistan and Turkey. Out of the millions relocated, isn't it possible that some families might have been deported to Transnistria?

"3) He could certainly not have sent them to Bendery in Transnistria, because at the time this town was in Romania."

Though Bendery was a part of Romania in the 30s, most of Transnistra was not. In the book it only says that they were deported to Transnistria (not Bendery) and then "went to live by the river." By 1930, half of Bendery's population was Russian. Isn't it possible that they might have taken up residence there?

"4) Lilin never explains how ... as a convicted criminal, he was given a residence permit in Italy."
He doesn't even mention Italy in the book. Why should he explain that?

"5) His [sic] grandfather Kuzya is said to have survived 8 bullets from a firing squad and then been allowed to go: something utterly unique in the history of the USSR, if not mankind."

http://www.virginmedia.com/science-nature/amazing-bodies/bodies-of-steel-human-survival-stories.php?ssid=9

Posted on 8 Dec 2011 17:22:12 GMT
MBellotti says:
I agree, I suspect much of this book is made up. But I would like to point out that Transnistria is not recognized as a legitimate country by anyone, so most of their citizens have duel citizenship (usually either Moldovan or Ukrainian but there are Russians as well). If he's a Russian citizen he would be called up for service
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