Parts of George Orwell's celebrated novel "1984" about a mind-numbing totalitarian society have been published in the Soviet Union with an introduction saying Soviets are ready to judge it for themselves.

However, the excerpts, appearing in this week's Literaturnaya Gazeta, also carry an editor'snote suggesting Orwell's fictional society bears no resemblance to the Soviet Union of today.The page of excerpts was published in the literary newspaper with an introduction by Sergei Zalygin, editor of Novy Mir magazine. Novy Mir plans to publish the 1949 novel in full later this year. The novel has never before been published in the Soviet Union.

The excerpts included the omnipresent warning of Orwell's imaginary regime that "Big Brother is Watching You" and the mind-bending recitations of the Ministry of Truth that "War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength."

Orwell, an Indian-born Briton who died in 1950, grappled with the nature of human freedom in his essays and novels, which include "Animal Farm."

Zalygin compared Orwell's "1984" with the writings of Mikhail Bulgakov and Yevgeny Zamyatin. Their tales of dictatorship, "The Master and Margarita" and "We," were long suppressed.

"It's possible that Orwell wrote his work with a concrete address - the address of socialism - but that time has been passed when we were frightened and, to put it delicately, confused," Zalygin wrote.

The repression that marked Josef V. Stalin's 29 years in power has been denounced by Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev, who has also advocated a freer hand in the arts and release of long-banned literary works.