Yuli Daniel’s obituary from the New York Times, 1 January, 1989
Yuli M. Daniel, a Soviet dissident and satirist whose conviction in 1966 for publishing anti-Government writings abroad drew international attention, died at his home in Moscow on Friday after a stroke. He was 63 years old.
His former wife, Larisa Bogaraz, herself a Soviet dissident, said Mr. Daniel had suffered several heart attacks in June, but then seemed to improve, The Associated Press reported.
The closed trial and Mr. Daniel’s sentence of five years at forced labor came months after Nikita S. Khrushchev was ousted as Soviet leader and marked the beginning of a harsh crackdown on dissenting political views and writings. Also convicted at the trial was an associate of Mr. Daniel, the literary critic Andrei D. Sinyavsky, who was sentenced to seven years. Mr. Sinyavsky later emigrated to Paris.
Both men, who were members of the Gorky Institute of World Literature, refused to plead guilty to the charges of disseminating anti-Soviet propaganda, arguing in the four-day trial that they were motivated by artistic, not political, considerations. After the trial, they emerged as heroes for younger Soviet writers and other intellectuals. An Unorthodox Satirist
Under the pseudonym Nikolai Arzhak, Mr. Daniel, a satirist whose work was full of bizarre imagery and fantasy, smuggled some of his work abroad for seven years and had it published.
Four satirical stories were funneled to the West in the 1960’s through Kultura, a Polish emigre organization in Paris. In 1969, the satires came to the United States for the first time when E. P. Dutton published a 159-page English translation titled, ”This is Moscow Speaking and Other Stories.”
This most famous work, ”This Is Moscow Speaking,” was a short story about an officially sanctioned day of murder throughout the country on which only police officers and transportation workers were off-limits.
After the trial, some prominent Soviet intellectuals and Communist Party members around the world expressed dismay. Pravda defended the sentences, saying that the two writers had apparently failed to understand the nature of the Soviet Union’s ”socialist democracy.”
During his years in a labor camp, Mr. Daniel and five other dissident writers joined in a formal protest of the conditions.
After Mikhail S. Gorbachev lifted some artistic restrictions, some of Mr. Daniel’s work has circulated in the Soviet Union. In July, as he lay ill in a hospital, the popular weekly Ogonyok published poems Mr. Daniel had written in prison, calling them ”his first publications after a break of more than 20 years.”
Introducing the five poems, the magazine wrote: ”Yuli Daniel – prose writer and poet. Yuli Daniel – war veteran and a man of difficult fate.” Included was a poem titled ”The Ring,” in which Mr. Daniel appeared to liken his trial to a boxing match.
After Mr. Daniel was released from prison, where he lost almost all his hearing, he lived and worked in Kaluga and Moscow and stayed away from dissident activities.
Mr. Daniel is survived by his wife, Irina Uvarova; a son, Aleksandr, and a grandson, Mikhail.