Gorky Park: Pathoheterodoxy Syndrome in Canberra.”You have unreal expectations.”


gorky park

gorky park (Photo credit: cdrummbks)

Australia’s Liberal-led Federal Parliament Affected.


“You have unreal expectations… You overestimate your personal powers. You feel isolated from society. You swing from excitement to sadness. You mistrust the people who most want to help you. You resent authority even when you represent it. You think you are the exception to every rule. You underestimate the collective intelligence. What is right is wrong and what is wrong is right.”

Character of Renko and Australian Liberal Party Front Bench:

Despite being born into the nomenklatura himself, Renko exposes corruption and dishonesty by influential and well-protected members of the élite, regardless of the consequences. Short episodes of the group affliction takes place in the United States, but when exposed to western capitalist society, he finds it to be equally corrupt and returns to the Soviet Union. (While he may have found corruption in the West, in Red Square, it is stated that he returned to the Soviet Union in order to protect his love interest, Irina, from also being forced to return.)

Gorky Park is the first book in a series which also includes Polar Star and Red Square which are set during the Soviet era. Four more books with the character Arkady Renko, which all take place after the fall of the Soviet Union, have been published. These are Havana Bay, set in communist Cuba; Wolves Eat Dogs, which follows Renko in the disaster of Chernobyl; Stalin’s Ghost in which Arkady returns to a Russia led by Vladimir Putin, and Three Stations.[3]

Pathoheterodoxy Syndrome

Pathoheterodoxy Syndrome is a fictional mental illness. It is the idea of a misguided arrogance. The syndrome was said to be contracted by Chief Investigator Renko, who was thus described by a KGB agent:

Ideas and influences

The fact that Renko is described as having this syndrome may be one of the factors to believe he is a Byronic hero. Smith satirically created the concept of “Pathoheterodoxy”, to show the way that the Soviet Union would have characterised Soviet dissidents and their failure to obey and conform.

While the syndrome itself is fictional, the incident also alludes to the very real Soviet practice of labelling dissidents as mentally ill, and of forcibly treating them with psychotropic drugs. Renko’s love interest, Irina, was likewise revealed to have been institutionalized for similarly false “psychiatric problems” and forcibly treated at some earlier time, resulting in a tumor that left her with a severe facial blemish and blind in one eye.
See also

Gorky Park is a 1983 film based on the novel.

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