Yulian Semyonov's new novel Seventeen Moments of Spring brings us the largely documentary story of one of those heroes, Maxim Isaev, alias SS Standartenfuhrer Stirlitz, known as Justas to those in charge of Soviet Intelligence. In answer to countless readers' questions as to whether Maxim Isaev was a fictitious character Semyonov replies: "No, this particular Soviet agent combines traits of several heroic men now living, to whom I should like to express my gratitude for their brave, noble and inspiring lives..." Watch here From page 246 of The Invention of Russia: From Gorbachev's Freedom to Putin's War: The film was part of a propaganda campaign launched by Yuri Andropov, who became head of the KGB in the late 1960s. The novel by Yulian Semyonov, on which the film was based, was commissioned personally by Andropov to glorify Soviet secret agents serving abroard. Don't forget, Seventeen Moments of Spring is a propaganda film made by the Russians for the populace, to forge a new view of prowess - the invention of Russia. Some Stierlitz jokes: Stirlitz and Kathe are walking through the park. In the Reich Security Office, Müller, Himmler, and Bormann are all standing in the cafeteria line, patiently waiting their turn. What they didnt know is that a Hero of the Soviet Union has the right to receive service without having to stand in line. Stirlitz blasted the door open with a mighty kick and discreetly tiptoed toward Müller who was reading a paper. If they wear black uniforms, Ill say Im Standartenführer Stirlitz.
It's also about understanding how to read people, about the cynicism of world politics, about the way our world is structured. This is pitched as a spy book, but really it's a book about understanding human nature and human relationships.
I find it to be a little more soviet biased but then it was written for a certain public at a particular time in history when writing these books was commanded by the higher echelons of political power.
The elder one, Daria, is an artist, and the younger, Olga Semyonova, is a journalist and a writer, an author of the autobiographical books about her father. After gaining a degree of an interpreter in the University, Semyonov had diplomatic business in East Asia countries, continuing at the same time his scientific studies in Moscow State University (specializing in Persian history and politics). Since 1955 he started to try his hand in journalism: he was published in key Soviet newspapers and magazines of that time: Ogoniok, Pravda, Literaturnaya Gazeta, Komsomolskaya Pravda, Smena etc. In 1986 Semyonov became the President of the International Association of Detective and Political Novel (Russian: ), which he himself initiated to create, and the editor-in-chief of the collected stories edition Detective and Politics (the edition was published by the said Association together with the Press Agency Novosti and played an important role in popularization of the detective genre in the USSR.