Vasily Grossman's dark and honest account of the epic battle of Stalingrad; the prequel to his novel Life and Fate.
Stalingrad explores the approach of war to the city of Stalingrad, through the many lives of the Shaposhnikov family and their partners. Atomic scientist Viktor Shtrum struggles with his work for the Soviet state, while his family live, love and work despite swirling rumours, to run the city's power stations, factories and hospitals.
After three years of agonised rewrites under the censors' gaze, Stalingrad was finally published in the USSR to universal acclaim, though Grossman was soon being denounced for depicting Russians who were not always heroes. But as a former war correspondent, Grossman was determined to tell the dark and honest truth of the epic battle of Stalingrad, and the men and women caught up in it.
The epic BBC Radio 4 serial Life and Fate stunned radio audiences in 2011, garnering rave reviews for its powerful depiction of a family torn apart by war in Soviet Russia. Now, with this astonishing prequel published in its first ever English translation by Richard and Elizabeth Chandler, we are transported back to the very beginning of Vasily Grossman's panoramic tale, as the 'harsh whirlwind' of war approaches the city of Stalingrad.
As Stalingrad opens, we are introduced to the many lives of the Shaposhnikov family and their partners. Atomic scientist Viktor Shtrum struggles with his work for the State and with his own conscience, while his family live, love and work (despite swirling rumours) to run the city's power stations, factories and hospitals.
Meanwhile, at the Front, we meet old-school Bolshevik Commissar Nikolai Krymov in the thick of the Russian army's pell-mell retreat before Operation Barbarossa and follow the 'unknown' soldiers giving their lives to hold the line at the Volga.
This vivid, gripping drama features many of the same acclaimed cast as Life and Fate:
Viktor Shtrum ..... Kenneth Branagh
Lyuda Shaposhnikova ..... Greta Scacchi
Alexandra ..... Ann Mitchell
Zhenya ..... Doon Mackichan
Stepan Spiridonov ..... Kenneth Cranham
Nina ..... Danusia Samal
Vera ..... Scarlett Courtney
Tolya ..... Will Kirk
Novikov ..... Rick Warden
Lenya ..... Greg Jones
Pryahkin ..... Clive Hayward
Yeremenko ..... Neil McCaul
Apparatchik ..... Adam Courting
Driver ..... Ikky Elias
Nikolai Krymov ...... Mark Bonnar
Pyotr Vavilov ..... Richard Elfyn
Nastya Vavilov ..... Gwawr Loader
Tolya ..... Will Kirk
Filyashkin ..... Francois Pandolfo
Kovalyov ..... Gareth Pierce
Lena ..... Caitlin Richards
Malyarchuk ..... Simon Ludders
Rezchikov ..... Marc Danbury
Usurov ..... Adam Courting
Marusya Spiridonova ..... Eiry Thomas
Written by Vasily Grossman
Translated by Robert and Elizabeth Chandler
Dramatised by Mike Walker and Jonathan Myerson
Directed by Jonathan Myerson and Jonquil Panting
Series Producer Alison Hindell
First broadcast on BBC Radio in November 2019.
MP3 files hosted by archive.org.