The new vision for the Gulag faced many obstacles. Reeducation proved difficult to quantify, a serious liability in a statistics-obsessed state. The entrenched habits of Gulag officials and the prisoner-guard power dynamic mitigated the effect of the post-Stalin reforms. And the Soviet public never fully accepted the new policies of leniency and the humane treatment of criminals. In the late 1950s, they joined with a coalition of party officials, criminologists, procurators, newspaper reporters, and some penal administrators to rally around the slogan "The camp is not a resort" and succeeded in reimposing harsher conditions for inmates. By the mid-1960s the Soviet Gulag had emerged as a hybrid system forged from the old Stalinist system, the vision promoted by Khrushchev and others in the mid-1950s, and the ensuing counterreform movement. This new penal equilibrium largely persisted until the fall of the Soviet Union.
Over the course of several decades, the Soviet labor camp system drew into its orbit tens of millions of people -- political prisoners and their families, common criminals, prisoners of war, internal exiles, local officials, and prison camp personnel. This study sheds new light on the operation of the camp system, both internally and as an integral part of a totalitarian regime that "institutionalized violence as a universal means of attaining its goals." In Galina Ivanova's unflinching account -- all the more powerful for its austerity -- the Gulag is the ultimate manifestation of a more pervasive and lasting distortion of the values of legality, labor, and life that burdens Russia to the present day.
Drawing on newly opened archives in Russia and Kazakhstan as well as memoirs by actual prisoners, Barnes shows how the Gulag was integral to the Soviet goal of building a utopian socialist society. He takes readers into the Gulag itself, focusing on one outpost of the Gulag system in the Karaganda region of Kazakhstan, a location that featured the full panoply of Soviet detention institutions. Barnes traces the Gulag experience from its beginnings after the 1917 Russian Revolution to its decline following the 1953 death of Stalin.
Death and Redemption reveals how the Gulag defined the border between those who would reenter Soviet society and those who would be excluded through death.
Doroshevich’s book was enormously popular when it first appeared, and it continues to be published in Russia, as a historical record of the striking barbarity of late nineteenth century penal practices. Despite this popularity, it has never before been translated into English, and Doroshevich remains largely unknown outside Russia. This translation introduces English-language readers to an important writer and original stylist who defined journalistic practice during the years leading up to the 1917 Revolution, by way of a book which helps explain the causes for that revolution.
"I went to get the letters for our friends, and couldn't help but feel a little envious, I didn't expect anything for myself. And suddenly—there was my name, and, as if it was alive, your handwriting."
In 1946, after five years as a prisoner—first as a Soviet POW in Nazi concentration camps, then as a deportee (falsely accused of treason) in the Arctic Gulag—twenty-nine-year-old Lev Mishchenko unexpectedly received a letter from Sveta, the sweetheart he had hardly dared hope was still alive. Amazingly, over the next eight years the lovers managed to exchange more than 1,500 messages, and even to smuggle Sveta herself into the camp for secret meetings. Their recently discovered correspondence is the only known real-time record of life in Stalin's Gulag, unmediated and uncensored.
Orlando Figes, "the great storyteller of modern Russian historians" (Financial Times), draws on Lev and Sveta's letters as well as KGB archives and recent interviews to brilliantly reconstruct the broader world in which their story unfolded. With the powerful narrative drive of a novel, Just Send Me Word reveals a passion and endurance that triumphed over the tragic forces of history.
The Gulag Survivor is the first book to examine at length and in-depth the post-camp experience of Stalin's victims and their fate in post-Soviet Russia. As such, it is an essential companion to the classic work of Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Based on extensive interviews, memoirs, official records, and recently opened archives, The Gulag Survivor describes what survivors experienced when they returned to society, how officials helped or hindered them, and how issues surrounding the existence of the returnees evolved from the fifties up to the present.
Adler establishes the social and historical context of the first wave of returnees who were "liberated" into exile in Stalin's time. She reviews diverse aspects of return including camp culture, family reunion, and the psychological consequences of the Gulag. Adler then focuses on the enduring belief in the Communist Party among some survivors and the association between returnees and the growing dissident movement. She concludes by examining how issues surrounding the survivors reemerged in the eighties and nineties and the impact they had on the failing Soviet system. Written and researched while Russian archives were most available and while there were still survivors to tell their stories, The Gulag Survivor is a groundbreaking and essential work in modern Russian history. It will be read by historians, political scientists, Slavic scholars, and sociologists.
The prison camps served the Soviet government in many ways: to isolate opponents and frighten the population into submission, to increase labor productivity through the arrest of "inefficient" workers, and to provide labor for factories, mines, lumbering, and construction projects.
Jakobson focuses on the structure and interrelations of prison agencies, the Bolshevik views of crime and punishment and inmate reeducation, and prison self-sufficiency. He also describes how political conditions and competition among prison agencies contributed to an unprecedented expansion of the system. Finally, he disputes the official claim of 1931 that the system was profitable -- a claim long accepted by former inmates and Western researchers and used to explain the proliferation of the camps and their population.
Did Marxism or the Bolshevik Revolution or Leninism inexorably lead to the GULAG system? Were its origins truly evil or merely banal? Jakobson's important book probes the official record to cast new light on a system that for a time supported but ultimately helped destroy the now fallen Soviet colossus.
In February 2012, after smuggling an electric guitar into Moscow’s iconic central cathedral, Maria Alyokhina and other members of the radical collective Pussy Riot performed a provocative “Punk Prayer,” taking on the Orthodox church and its support for Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian regime.
For this, they were charged with “organized hooliganism” and were tried while confined in a cage and guarded by Rottweilers. That trial and Alyokhina’s subsequent imprisonment became an international cause. For Alyokhina, her two-year sentence launched a bitter struggle against the Russian prison system and an iron-willed refusal to be deprived of her humanity. Teeming with protests and police, witnesses and cellmates, informers and interrogators, Riot Days gives voice to Alyokhina’s insistence on the right to say no, whether to a prison guard or to the president. Ultimately, this insistence delivers unprecedented victories for prisoners’ rights.
Evocative, wry, laser-sharp, and laconically funny, Alyokhina’s account is studded with song lyrics, legal transcripts, and excerpts from her jail diary—dispatches from a young woman who has faced tyranny and returned with the proof that against all odds even one person can force its retreat.
In addition to entries on such notorious camps as Abu Ghraib, Andersonville, Auschwitz, and the Hanoi Hilton, the encyclopedia includes profiles of key perpetrators of camp and prison atrocities and more than a dozen curated and contextualized primary source documents that further illuminate the subject. Primary sources include United Nations documents outlining the treatment of prisoners of war, government reports of infamous camp and prison atrocities, and oral histories from survivors of these notorious facilities.
Bargu chronicles the experiences, rituals, values, beliefs, ideological self-representations, and contentions of the protestors who fought cellular confinement against the background of the history of Turkish democracy and the treatment of dissent in a country where prisons have become sites of political confrontation. A critical response to Michel Foucault's Discipline and Punish, Starve and Immolate centers on new forms of struggle that arise from the asymmetric antagonism between the state and its contestants in the contemporary prison. Bargu ultimately positions the weaponization of life as a bleak, violent, and ambivalent form of insurgent politics that seeks to wrench the power of life and death away from the modern state on corporeal grounds and in increasingly theologized forms. Drawing attention to the existential commitment, sacrificial morality, and militant martyrdom that transforms these struggles into a complex amalgam of resistance, Bargu explores the global ramifications of human weapons' practices of resistance, their possibilities and limitations.
The confessional mode did not come naturally to Fallada the writer of fiction, but in the mental and emotional distress of 1944, self-reflection became a survival strategy. In the ‘house of the dead’ he exacts his political revenge on paper. ‘I know that I am crazy. I’m risking not only my own life, I’m also risking … the lives of many of the people I am writing about’, he notes, driven by the compulsion to write. And write he does – about spying and denunciation, about the threat to his livelihood and his literary work, about the fate of many friends and contemporaries such as Ernst Rowohlt and Emil Jannings. To conceal his intentions and to save paper, he uses abbreviations. His notes, constantly exposed to the gaze of the prison warders, become a kind of secret code. He finally succeeds in smuggling the manuscript out of the prison, although it remained unpublished for half a century.
These revealing memoirs by one of the best-known German writers of the 20th century will be of great interest to all readers of modern literature.
In these astonishing letters, Aung San Suu Kyi reaches out beyond Burma's borders to paint for her readers a vivid and poignant picture of her native land.
Here she celebrates the courageous army officers, academics, actors and everyday people who have supported the National League for Democracy, often at great risk to their own lives. She reveals the impact of political decisions on the people of Burma, from the terrible cost to the children of imprisoned dissidents - allowed to see their parents for only fifteen minutes every fortnight - to the effect of inflation on the national diet and of state repression on traditions of hospitality. She also evokes the beauty of the country's seasons and scenery, customs and festivities that remain so close to her heart.
Through these remarkable letters, the reader catches a glimpse of exactly what is at stake as Suu Kyi fights on for freedom in Burma, and of the love for her homeland that sustains her non-violent battle.
Includes an introduction from Fergal Keane
'Aung San Suu Kyi has become a global symbol of peaceful resistance, courage and apparently endless endurance' Guardian
'A real hero in an age of phony phone-in celebrity, which hands out that title freely to the most spoiled and underqualified' Bono, Time
Aung San Suu Kyi is the leader of Burma's National League for Democracy. She was placed under house arrest in Rangoon in 1989, where she remained for almost 15 of the 21 years until her release in 2010, becoming one of the world's most prominent political prisoners. She is also the author of the collection of writings Freedom from Fear.
But ten years later he was propaganda chief for Mosley’s fascists, and one of Britain’s three best known anti-Semites.
Yet his mother, whom he loved, was a Jew. Her ancestors were Solomons, Isaacs and Jacobsons, originally from Prussia.
He successfully hid his Jewish ancestry all his life – he said his mother’s family were "fisher folk from the east coast." His son, the author of this book, acclaimed political biographer and journalist Francis Beckett, did not discover the truth until John Beckett had been dead for years.
He left Mosley and founded the National Socialist League with William Joyce, later Lord Haw Haw, and spent the war years in prison, considered a danger to the war effort.
For the rest of his life, and all of Francis Beckett’s childhood, John Beckett and his family were closely watched by the security services. Their devious machinations, traced in records only recently released, damaged chiefly his young family.
This is a fascinating and brutally honest account of a troubled man in turbulent times.
For over a decade Stephen Purvis had been a pillar of Havana's expat community, one of many foreign businessmen investing in Cuba's crawl from Cold War communism towards modernity. But for reasons unknown to him he was also under State Security's microscope. One morning during the height of President Raúl Castro's purges in 2012, while his family slept, the unmarked Ladas of State Security arrived at his home and he was taken away into the absurd and brutal world of Cuban justice.
In this engrossing memoir, Purvis recounts his fifteen-month ordeal. Accused at first of selling state secrets, he is taken to the notorious interrogation centre Villa Marista, where he endures brutal conditions designed by the KGB and Stasi to break the bodies and minds of spies and political prisoners, and resists the paranoia and incompetence of his jailers. Later, held in a maximum-security prison, he finds himself surrounded by a motley crew of convicts: people-smugglers and drug-runners together with a handful of confused businessmen also awaiting formal charges.
From his arrest to his farcical secret trial and sudden release, Purvis exposes the madness of modern Cuba with wit, grit and a sharp eye for character. As tourists flock to Havana to marvel at a city frozen in time, he shows that despite reforms and international reconciliation the Castro regime remains a corrupt, dictatorial relic. Close But No Cigar is part thriller, part comedy and part morality tale, but most of all a true story that takes the reader into a dark side of a sunny place that remains an enigma.