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Born in the Kirghiz Republic in 1928, Chingiz T. Aitmatov (1928-2008) was a leading figure among contemporary Russian writers, having won the Lenin Prize and other honors of the former Soviet Union. He was regarded as one of the banner-bearers of "perestroika". In this dialogue, Aitmatov and Ikeda, both members of the generation witnessing the historic upheavals of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, objectively probe ways to restore dignity and freedom of the spirit to humanity. In the process, they articulate their intuition that the sources for restoration of these qualities are to be found in the mind––in the romanticism of poetry and the arts. This wide-ranging work examines Russian literature and the deep implications of perestroika, and explores such themes relevant to civilization in the twenty-first century as nonviolence, the dignity of life, nihilism and the revitalization of religion.