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.
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.
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.
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.
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.