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Karina  Bastajian

Hidden Affairs: Vladimir Nabokov's Destruction of the Innocent
Armenian-Soviet Relations 1918-1991

In the early twentieth century, the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia resulted in communist control over the country, as well as over surrounding areas. Armenia became part of the Soviet Union in order to protect itself from annihilation by Turkey. Through sovietization, the country was liberated from the Turks, and experienced economic prosperity. Soviet rule in Armenia helped the welfare of the country both economically and demographically. Under Soviet rule, the population grew through an increased birth rate and repatriation. However, though enjoying some prosperity, Armenia never truly reached its full potential under Soviet rule. The country itself needed to become a self-governing nation, and to rely no longer on foreign influence. Armenia sought not only independence but democracy as well. However, it used Soviet guidance and support in order to become a self-sufficient and self-governing country. If Armenia had never been inside the Soviet sphere of influence, it would not have survived. Soviet influence saved Armenia from annihilation and destruction by the Turks, eventually allowing the nation to become an independent country once again.

While the Armenians struggled externally for independence from Soviet Russia, Vladimir Nabokovís characters struggle internally. These inner conflicts characterize both the young and the old. Nabokovís young female characters are physically mature, while his male characters are emotionally immature. It is through his charactersí abnormal perversions and obsessions with the young, that Nabokov portrays the destruction of innocence. His characters search for an inner freedom and long for the thrill of youth and naÔvetť, which is absent from their lives. While the topics of Nabokovís novels seem shocking, his intent is to end the corruption and perversions in society.

Major Works Consulted:

Bournoutian, George A.. A History of the Armenian People: 1500 A.D. to the Present. Pasadena: Mazda , 1994.
Nabokov, Vladimir. Laughter in the Dark. New York: New Directions, 1991.
---. Lolita. New York: Vintage, 1991.
Suny, Ronald G. ďSoviet Armenia.Ē Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times, Ed. Richard G. Hovannisian. New York: St. Martinís, 2004.
Photo Credit: Boyd, Brian. Vladimir Nabokov: The American Years. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1991.


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