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Caption: Pyotr Patrushev
Pyotr Patrushev 

Conversations 105: Pyotr Patrushev

From: Richard Fidler
Series: Conversations with Richard Fidler
Length: 53:27

Embed_button
A conversation with Pyotr Patrushev, a former Soviet soldier and athlete who escaped from the Soviet Union by swimming across the Black Sea.

Pyotr_small Pyotr Patrushev is a Russian interpreter; he sits next to western leaders when they meet with Vladimir Putin or other senior Russians.

Pyotr has lived in the West for many years now, but he grew up in the 1950s, in what was then the Soviet Union.

His family lived in a Siberian village so cold the stove took up a quarter of the living space of his family's hut.

His mother would protect the firewood heap from theft, by carefully concealing a quantity of gunpowder wihin a single log of wood. They could tell who was the thief by waiting for the subsequent explosion elsewhere in the village.

Pyotr became a competitive swimmer with an eye to the Olympics and he joined the Soviet army. But when a sadistic officer began to brutally haze him, he realised his life was in grave danger.

At first he faked insanity by studing psychiatric textbooks. Then Pyotr hatched a wildly ambitious escape plan; to swim all night across a stretch of the Black Sea, in the hope that he could evade search lights and patrol boats, and make it to the Turkish coast.

But in Turkey he was accused of being a Soviet spy; he was held in solitary confinment and interrogated for a year before he was let go to the West.

Piece Description

Pyotr Patrushev is a Russian interpreter; he sits next to western leaders when they meet with Vladimir Putin or other senior Russians.

Pyotr has lived in the West for many years now, but he grew up in the 1950s, in what was then the Soviet Union.

His family lived in a Siberian village so cold the stove took up a quarter of the living space of his family's hut.

His mother would protect the firewood heap from theft, by carefully concealing a quantity of gunpowder wihin a single log of wood. They could tell who was the thief by waiting for the subsequent explosion elsewhere in the village.

Pyotr became a competitive swimmer with an eye to the Olympics and he joined the Soviet army. But when a sadistic officer began to brutally haze him, he realised his life was in grave danger.

At first he faked insanity by studing psychiatric textbooks. Then Pyotr hatched a wildly ambitious escape plan; to swim all night across a stretch of the Black Sea, in the hope that he could evade search lights and patrol boats, and make it to the Turkish coast.

But in Turkey he was accused of being a Soviet spy; he was held in solitary confinment and interrogated for a year before he was let go to the West.

Broadcast History

Originally broadcast on ABC Local Radio and ABC Radio National, Australia. (Edited here for a US audience).

Timing and Cues

Piece Audio Version

Billboard
In cue: Music
Out cue: "... That's right after this."
Dur: 59"

Segment 1
In cue: Theme music
Out cue: "... That's just ahead."
Dur: 18'58"

Break 1
In cue: Music
Out cue: Music fades
Dur: 59"

Segment 2
In cue: Music sweeper
Out cue: "... That's just ahead."
Dur: 13'02"

Break 2
In cue: Music
Out cue: Music fades.
Dur: 59"

Segment 3
In cue: "Music sweeper"
Out cue: "... Thanks for listening".
Dur: 18'30"

Conversations 105.Patrushev Single File Version

Single File
In cue: Theme music
Out cue: "... thanks for listening."
Dur: 52'30"

Intro and Outro

INTRO:

Right now: 'Conversations with Richard Fidler' (pron: FY-dler) features the story of a former soldier who escaped persecution in the Soviet Union by swimming across the Black Sea.

OUTRO:

Musical Works

Title Artist Album Label Year Length
Hollywood Sunset Barry Adamson Lost Highway. Fontana Interscope 1997 01:00
Ricky's Theme Beastie Boys The In Sound from Way Out. Capitol 1996 02:00

Related Website

abc.net.au/conversations