Drafted into the Red Army in 1943, Medvedev fought on the Caucasus Front. He left the army at the end of the war. During 1946–1951 he studied history in the Philosophical Faculty of Leningrad University. During 1951–1957 he taught history and served as director of a village school. He joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) in 1952. During 1957–1971 he worked for the Prosveshchenie publishing house. He then was employed by the Academy of Pedagogical Science, but during the early 1960s he became disillusioned and entered the world of antigovernment samizdat (underground publishing).
In 1967 Medvedev published a bombshell book critical of Stalin's rule, published in the West as Let History Judge: The Origins and Consequences of Stalinism. For this he was stripped of his CPSU membership. Medvedev has written some thirty-five books, most of which have been translated into other languages. Among his published works are books written with his brother, including Khrushchev: The Years in Power (1978). In 1970 he also published, along with dissident physicist Andrei Sakharov, an open letter critical of the Soviet government.
Since 1971 Medvedev has been a freelance journalist and author. He rejoined the CPSU in 1989 and was elected as a member of the Congress of People's Deputies for the 1989–1991 term. He then served as a member of the Supreme Soviet and subsequently was cochairman of the Socialist Party of Russian Workers.
Spencer C. Tucker
Medvedev, Roy A. All Stalin's Men. New York: Doubleday, 1984.; Medvedev, Roy A. Let History Judge: The Origins and Consequences of Stalinism. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989.; Medvedev, Roy A., and Zhores A. Medvedev. Khrushchev: The Years in Power. New York: Norton, 1978.; Medvedev, Roy A., and Zhores A. Medvedev. The Unknown Stalin: His Life, Death, and Legacy. Translated by Ellen Dadrendorf. New York: Overlook Press, 2004.; Suny, Ronald Grigor. The Soviet Experiment: Russia, the USSR, and the Successor States. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.