Yuri N. Afanasyev, Historian Who Repudiated Communism, Dies at 81

Historians in the News
tags: obituary, Yuri N Afanasyev

Yuri N. Afanasyev, a Russian historian and former Communist loyalist who became a leading democratic politician in the late Soviet era and founded a liberal arts university that, together with the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, introduced Russia’s first academic Jewish studies program, died Sept. 14 at his home in Moscow. He was 81.

The cause was a heart attack, said a spokeswoman for the Russian State University for the Humanities, which Mr. Afanasyev founded in 1991. His son-in-law, Viktor Prichesnyaev, told the radio station Ekho Moskvy that Mr. Afanasyev had diabetes.

Mr. Afanasyev’s life traced an unpredictable arc that began under Stalin’s harsh rule in the 1930s, carried him as a boy through the hardships of World War II and brought him stature and privileges as a dedicated Communist, only to lead him away from the very political system that had nurtured him.

Read entire article at NYT

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