Death and Redemption: The Gulag and the Shaping of Soviet Society, 2011; Gulag Voices: Oral Histories of Soviet Detention and Exile, 2011; Narrating the Future in Siberia: Childhood, Adolescence and Autobiography Among the Eveny, 2012

Madeleine Reeves


As the three texts reviewed here reveal, the heritage of the Soviet Gulag, a vast network of “corrective” facilities that stretched into the most unforgiving extremes of Soviet geography, is difficult not just because it attests to a decades-long regime of incarceration and organized state sponsored violence. It is also difficult because traces of that past live on in the present: in the lonely barracks and watchtowers that haunt Gulag landscapes; in the demographic composition of former Gulag towns, where many current residents are descendants of former prisoners and former guards; in the spontaneous memorials and state-sponsored museums; and in the memory of Gulag survivors, many of whom were instructed upon their release never to speak about their experiences.


Legacies of the Gulag; State Violence; Incarceration; Oral History; Forced Labor; Redemption; Resettlement; Soviet Project; Soviet Temporality; Collective Trauma; Haunted Landscape; Eveny; Ghosts of the Past

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