The Memoirs of János Kádár’s Interpreter Vladimir Baikov: A New Source on Soviet Policy in 1956 Hungary

Stykalin, Alexandr (2016) The Memoirs of János Kádár’s Interpreter Vladimir Baikov: A New Source on Soviet Policy in 1956 Hungary. Corvinus Journal of International Affairs, 1 (3). DOI

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Among the recently published historical sources which add important details to our image of the Soviet policy in Hungary in the weeks of the 1956 revolution and its suppression, the memoirs of Vladimir Baikov are among the most important. Vladimir Sergeevich Baikov (1916–2001), born in Moscow, worked as journalist and editor of Radio Moscow (Vsesoyuznii radiokomitet) news programs in the late 1930s and early 1940s, until the attack of Nazi Germany against the USSR in June 1941. He knew English well and began work on a PhD thesis on Contemporary American Literature. The war between Nazi Germany and the USSR, however, led to significant changes in his career. He became a political instructor in the Red Army and, when World War II had ended in May 1945, he found himself in Hungary, where he stayed on for about two years as an official in the Soviet military administration. It can be assumed that there was a lack of interpreters and translators of Hungarian in the Soviet military in post-war Hungary as well as in the Soviet part of the Allied Control Commission. Hence, Baikov was charged with learning Hungarian and, thanks to his linguistic skills, he quickly succeeded. In the first chapters of his memoirs, he describes the situation in Hungary of 1945-1946, the months of the acute confrontation between the pro-Communist and anti-Communist forces, especially in the days of the parliamentary elections in early November 1945. These were to be the last free elections in Hungary up till the spring of 1990.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Political science
ID Code:3299
Deposited By: Veronika Vitéz
Deposited On:23 Jan 2018 10:59
Last Modified:23 Jan 2018 10:59

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