Soviet Union: Nostalgia and Persecution

"As far as the Soviet authorities are concerned, I simply do not exist." So said the U.S.S.R.'s internationally celebrated film director Andrei Tarkovsky as he announced in Milan last week that he was seeking political asylum in the West. One reason for his decision: Soviet officials had ignored his repeated applications for permission to extend an 18-month working stint abroad. The director, whose wife is with him, said that requests for other members of his family to join him, particularly Son Andrei, 13, had also gone unheeded.

Tarkovsky, 52, was most recently acclaimed in the West for Nostalghia, which won...

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