DIARY OF A GULAG PRISON GUARD


DIARY OF A GULAG PRISON GUARD

IVAN CHISTYAKOV    Book Number: 87607    Product format: Hardback

The author was a Muscovite who was expelled from the Communist Party during the purges of the late 1920s and early 30s. He commanded an armed guard unit on a section of BAM, the Baikal-Amur Railway, which was built by forced labour. He died at the front in 1941. In the archives of the Memorial International Human Rights Centre in Moscow an extraordinary diary, a rare first-person testimony was discovered of this commander of the guards in a Soviet labour camp. Ivan Chistyakov was sent to the Gulag in 1935 where he worked for over a year. An anathema to him, a cultured man of Moscow with a nostalgia for pre-revolutionary Russia, Chistyakov was an amateur painter and poet. He recorded the horrors of the Gulag with an unmatched immediacy, documenting a world where petty rivalries put lives at risk, prisoners bet their fingers in card games, railway sleepers were burned for firewood and Siberian winds froze the lather on the soap. From his stumbling poetic musings on the bitter landscape, to his matter-of-fact grumbles about his stove, from accounts of the conditions of the camp to reflections on the cruelty of loneliness, the diary is a visceral and immediate description of a place and time whose repercussions still affect the shape of modern Russia. 12th September 1936: 'It's my day off, but what use is that if there's nothing to do with it! Zaborsky came, we played billiards, sang, that was it.' 250pp, illus.
Published price: £14.99
Bibliophile price: £5.00


Additional product information

ISBN 9781783782567
Browse these categories as well: War Memoirs, War & Militaria

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