Alexander Zuzenko, a sailor and veteran of the 1905 Russian revolution, arrived in Australia in 1911 and embarked upon a career of industrial and political agitation and radical journalism. He went on to head the Union of Russian Workers in Brisbane and lead the red flag demonstration in 1919. Deported to Soviet Russia, he would return in 1922 as a clandestine agent of the Communist International, to unify and activate the Communist Party of Australia. Deported again, he was shipped to London, where he was held in prison and interrogated by Britain’s security agencies, before being released to travel to Russia. After a period as a harbour-master, then a journalist, he became a Soviet sea-captain, conveying influential Western visitors to Russia, until a charge of espionage on behalf of the British led to his execution in 1938.
Australian, Russian and British documents have made it possible to reconstruct his extraordinary career.
Kevin Windle is an Emeritus Fellow in the School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics. His publications include thirty articles and book chapters on the early history of the Russian community in Australia, a life of Alexander Zuzenko and three co-edited volumes on related matters.
His translations from various languages have been awarded prizes, including the Fédération Internationale des Traducteurs ‘Aurora Borealis’ prize for the translation of non-fiction (2017). In 2021, his translation of Artyom Vesyoly’s novel Russia Washed in Blood was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Translation Prize.
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