Soviet censors interpreted some passages as anti-communist and more idealistic. They were also infuriated by Pasternak's understated disparagement of Stalinism and his references to the Gulag. In 1957, an Italian publisher, Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, organized for the novel to be smuggled out of the Soviet Union by Isaiah Berlin. Much to the Soviet Union’s dismay, Feltrinelli simultaneously published copies in both Russian and in Italian. Demand for Doctor Zhivago was so great Feltrinelli was able to authorize translation rights into eighteen different languages long before the novel's publication.
The Communist Party of Italy debarred Feltrinelli from their association in retribution for his role in the publication of a novel they felt was vital for communism. On the other hand, the novel topped international bestseller lists, the British MI6 and the American CIA commenced an operation to ensure Doctor Zhivago was correctly submitted to the Nobel Committee. It was known that a Nobel Prize for Boris Pasternak would seriously damage the international integrity of the Soviet Union.
In result to this, British and American operatives seized and photographed a manuscript of the novel and privately printed a small number of books in the Russian language. These were submitted to the Nobel Committee's surprised judges just ahead of the deadline. The fictional story, Doctor Zhivago, is about a physician and poet named Doctor Yuri Zhivago, who lives during the first half of the 20th century in Russia. In this story, Yuri Zhivago’s brother, Yevgraf, a Russian general, relays the story of his brother Yuri to a teen girl, Tonya Komarovskaya.
Yevgraf believes Tonya is Yuri’s daughter, who was inadvertently abandoned when she was a small child. He first asks Tonya if she can recall anything about her mother. When she said she could not remember he tries to convince her by starting at the beginning of Yuri’s story. To understand Yuri’s life tale and how it relates to Stalinism, one must know the major themes of the novel; loneliness, companionship, individuality, community, corruption and revolution. Yuri’s story begins when he was a small child, his mother died and he had been taken in by the Gromekos, who were family friends.
With the loss of his mother, Yuri, must have felt alone until he began to develop a relationship with the Gromeko’s daughter, Tonya. As Yuri and Tonya grew up, it was anticipated they would marry. When they finally married, Yuri needed to leave to help the wounded soldiers in the Russian Civil War. There he met Laura, a woman who had volunteered for the war so she could find her husband, Pasha. She became a nurse, assisting Yuri with the injured. They began to build a relationship during their time together, though it started friendly, it soon became romantic.
About the time they were going to be leaving for home they made a promise to each other, promising that they will not lie about their “friendship. ” The film shows a vase of sunflowers as Laura and the soldiers leave Zhivago behind. These flowers are a symbol of the relationship Yuri had with Laura; the flowers were in full bloom when Laura was there but when she departed they began to wilt, like Yuri’s heart. When Yuri’s arrived at the Gromeko’s house, also his home, there were other people living in the large house.
These people were told to live there by the Soviet government because the house was too big for just the Gromeko family. During his time back in his “own” home he is asked, by a Soviet official, to go in secret to the home of a dying man. Zhivago goes and takes a look at the man and determines the cause of his illness. He says the cause of the man’s illness is something they don’t have in Russia, starvation. When he says this to the official he says it in such a way that shows the communist are either blind for they don’t care. Zhivago is an idealist and therefore does not like the Communists and in return his behavior is noticed.
One night when Yuri comes home he sees that Tonya had put out the fire in their home because they did not have enough fuel. To solve their fuel problems he goes outside and takes wood from a nearby fence. Watching from a distance is Yevgraf, who decides not to arrest his brother even though he had arrested better men for lesser crimes. Instead he follows his brother back to his home. He comes into the house and this is how Yuri meets his brother. Before Yevgraf leaves he tells Yuri, the government does not like his poetry because it shows individuality. Yevgraff warns them, telling them they should leave Moscow.
Yuri and his family get on a train to leave Moscow and go to Varykino. The people on the train are all poor and quite but one of the men was very vocal in his disapproval of revolution. Before the train left a Communist soldier was telling the people on the train how they were on the train and that the work they would be asked to do was all voluntary. The vocal man shouted at him saying it was a lie. Later in the train ride, they come to a stop as Strelnikov’s train comes past theirs. Strelikov, or Pasha, was an idealist before the Civil War, but he soon became one of the communists.
Yuri get off of his train while they are stopped and he runs through the wood and comes across the Strelnikov train. The Red Army soldiers take him to Pasha, where the two men finally meet. Yuri informs Pasha that Laura is still alive and how it was that he and Laura had met. He also said she was in Yuriatin. What neither of the two men knew was that Laura was being watched. The people that were watching, the White Army, Laura were hoping Strelnikov would come go home to his wife, they wanted to kill him. Pasha was killed when he was found just outside of Yuriatin.
Victor Kamarovsky found Laura and Yuri in Yuri’s old home, he told them he had a train that would take them out of Russia where they would be safe. At first neither Yuri would not go because he did not want to leave Russia and Laura would not leave without Yuri. When Victor told Yuri what happened to Pasha Yuri decided he would go for Laura’s sake. Laura and her daughter took the same slay as Victor but there was no room for Yuri. He told Laura he would follow on there slay and he would meet up at the train. Before they leave Yuri gave Laura the Balalaika. This was a sign that Yuri had no intentions of leaving Russia.
On the train Laura admits to Victor she is caring Yuri’s baby. This child is later inadvertently abandoned by Victor. The Russian government was corrupted; on one hand they had the Bolsheviks who were communist and tried to “sugar coat” the political and economical faults, such as, starvation, poverty and homelessness. While on the other hand, there was the White Army, who were a democratic party wanting to reveal the corruption for what it was. This split in the government led to the Russian Civil War. In the end the Bolsheviks won the war and took hold of the government.
When power was given to the Bolsheviks they ruled with a method created by Joseph Stalin. Stalinism is the technique used by Joseph Stalin, who was part of the Soviet Communist Party and was the state leader from 1929 until he died in 1953. Stalinism is accompanied with an establishment of terror and totalitarian rule. In a party dominated by intellectuals and rhetoricians, Stalin stood for an ideal approach to revolution, barren of ideological sentiment. Once power was given to the Bolshevik, the party leadership happily left Stalin the tasks involving the boring details of party and state administration.
Yuri’s story relays what life was like under Stalin’s communist rule. The solitude the people of Russia felt, the need for individuality and the corruption they saw in the government; these were the things the communists were trying to hide. The communist wanted the people to see companionship with their community and that they needed the revolution. Pasternak’s novel was an idealist’s point of view of the Russian government and was everything the Bolsheviks did not want the public to read. It showed how the Bolsheviks were trying to control the emotions and personalities of the people.