Pitirim A. Sorokin’s thoughts re returning (or not returning) to visit Russia

 

 

“Sorokin always wanted to go back to Russia and be received again in his home university. As time went on and he became successful in the U.S.A., this idea became more and more important to him. His hopes for that were particularly high after the death of Stalin. However, he mentioned a number of times that he would not dare return to Russia unless Khrushchev himself told him that it was all right and removed any danger from such a trip. He did send all his books and publications back to the library of his University — Leningrad. Nothing came of this in relation to forgiveness or elimination of the exile terms to himself. In 1958 we went together to West Germany to a meeting of the International Institut de Sociologie. After our week of formal meetings the German Universities arranged for all of us to have a week’s conduct tour together through East Germany to West Berlin and back to see the situations [sic] there. Sorokin did not at that time feel that he dared even cross over territory occupied by the Russians because the alternative to his banishment was death. I may have imaged these thoughts of Sorokin, but at least they have lived with me for some years.”

 

 

— Carle C. Zimmerman, Sorokin: The World’s Greatest Sociologist: His Life and Ideas on Social Time and Change (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada: University of Saskatchewan, 1968), pg. 86

 

 

About Roger W. Smith

Roger W. Smith is a writer and independent scholar based in New York City. His experience includes freelance writing and editing, business writing, book reviewing, and the teaching of writing and literature as an adjunct professor. Mr. Smith's interests include personal essays and opinion pieces; American and world literature; culture, especially books and reading; current issues that involve social, moral, and philosophical views; and experiences of daily living from a ground level perspective. He hosts separate websites devoted to the authors Theodore Dreiser and Pitirim A. Sorokin and to classical music as well as family history/genealogy.
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