The Diary of A Gulag Prison Guard

The Diary of A Gulag Prison Guard

Book - 2016
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A unique piece of testimony from the Soviet Gulag - a prison guard's private diary, written between 1935-36This is a rare first-person testimony of the hardships of a Soviet labour camp, written up in a couple of exercise books which were anonymously donated to the Memorial Human Rights Centre in Moscow. At the back of the books there is a blurred snapshot and a note, 'Chistyakov, Ivan Petrovich, repressed in 1937-38. Killed at the front in Tula Province in 1941'.They are all that remains of Ivan Chistyakov, a senior guard at the Baikal Amur Corrective Labour Camp (Bamlag) and a cultured and urbane ex-city dweller with a secret nostalgia for pre-Revolutionary Russia. Chistyakov does not just record his life in the camp, but narrates it; he is a sharp-eyed witness and a sympathetic, humane and broken man.From stumblingly poetic musings on the bitter landscape of the taiga to matter-of-fact grumbles about the inefficiency of his stove, from accounts of the brutal conditions of the camp to reflections on the cruelty of loneliness, this diary is an astonishing record - a visceral and immediate description of a place and time whose repercussions still affect the shape of modern Russia, and modern Europe.
Publisher: London : Granta, ©2016.
ISBN: 9781783782567
Characteristics: xxxiv, 250 pages :,illustrations ;,23 cm.

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