Pyotr Patrushev In Memoriam - Buddha’s Balalaika & The Transcendent Ape - Friday 16th March

To be launched by John Merson & Robyn Williams

Pyotr Patrushev, a man who made a dramatic escape from Russia by swimming across part of the Black sea at 20, a man who broadcasted critically of the Soviet Union from the BBC and in Europe, a man once on a wanted list of the KGB, and yet a man who saw himself as a peacemaker and bridge builder between East and West.

Pyotr’s life-long search for meaning has taken him deep into classical literature and into challenging, often painful self-analysis. His exploration led him from the Christian Bible through transpersonal psychology schools to Daoism and the I Ching. When initiated by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1968 he was asked whether he wanted peace or knowledge. He replied: ”both please”.

About Pyotr:

Pyotr Patrushev was a simultaneous interpreter, journalist, writer, and polymath. He interpreted for Australian Prime Ministers Kevin Rudd and John Howard when they met with their counterparts Mikhail Gorbachev, Vladimir Putin and other Russian heads of State.

A pacifist at heart, Pyotr escaped from the Soviet army at the age of 18 and had himself committed to the Soviet psychiatric hospital, from which he made a narrow escape as he was about to undergo a drug treatment ’for malingering’. Finally, he fled Russia by swimming from Georgia (Batumi) – the only refugee ever to be able to survive the Black Sea swim to Turkey. On arrival in Turkey, he was jailed as a Soviet spy, regularly interrogated, and forced to undergo a number of times to face the firing squad which employed fake bullets.

Pyotr was condemned to death in absentia by the Soviet authorities and was on the KGB’s wanted list for over 25 years. Many years later Pyotr went back to Russia as a peacemaker and helped establish in Moscow a Conflict Resolution Network (CRN), a pillar of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at University of Sydney. He published his own translation of the CRN’s Everyone Can Win. His ideas helped resolve conflicts in Russia at the time of the Perestroika.

You can view Pyotr's website here

Listen to Richard Fidler's interview with Pyotr here


Date and time: Friday 16th March, 6 for 6.30pm

Please RSVP here or phone 02 9660 2333

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