WEST BERLIN: A Lion Loosed

Into East Berlin to help celebrate a Communist "Book Week" came a Stalin Prizewinning Russian novelist. But he did not stop there. He walked straight through the Brandenburg Gate and claimed refuge in the West. Aleksandr Nikolaevich Cheishvili, 55, won a Stalin Prize in 1951 for a drearily-written novel called Lelo, which told how boy and girl, after quarreling, got reunited by working together to overfill their production quotas on a collectivized Georgian tea farm.

Cheishvili was by all odds the strangest Soviet defector to fly West in a long time. A thick-lipped, bushy-browed, literary mountain lion who sported a flowing...

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