Some of you might remember review Maya Haber and I wrote of Miriam Dobson‘s book Khrushchev’s Cold Summer: Gulag Returnees, Crime, and the Fate of Reform After Stalin. Now there’s an interview I did with Miriam about the book on the New Books in Russian and Eurasian Studies site.
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- By Sean — 11 years ago
Here is an important announcement for researchers. Kommersant reports:
Russia’s Defense Ministry has declassified archive documents of Red Army and Navy for 1941 to 1945, RIA Novosti reported referring to Colonel Sergey Ilienkov, who heads the Archive Service at Defense Ministry.
The secrecy labels were removed from documents stored in Defense Ministry’s Central Archive in Podolsk, where over four million dossiers of the WW2 time, 250 pages each, were kept closed for public at large. The Central Naval Archive in Gatchina and Military Medical Archive in St. Petersburg, containing hundreds of thousand documents, were opened as well.
The work is underway to process archive documents and create an electronic database, the so-called Electronic Archive, by late February or early March. Once emerged, the Electronic Archive will make more precise the WW2 casualties of the Soviet Union, Ilienkov said.
According to the current data, the overall death toll of the Soviet Union in WW2 stands at 26.600 million, including 8.660 million as military casualties.
Electronic Archive! Oh how I dream of the day when Russian archives could be accessed on the net. The only archive I know of that is currently available in digital form is the Comintern. And who really cares about that?
- By Sean — 10 years ago
Steve Barnes, Assistant Professor at George Mason University, has set up a invaluable site called Gulag: Many Days, Many Lives. Barnes is an expert in the history of the Gulag. I had the pleasure of hearing paper of his at the “The Relaunch of the Soviet Project, 1945-1964” conference at the University College London in 2006. I especially look forward to his upcoming book on the subject.
Gulag: Many Days, Many Lives provides a comprehensive, nuanced, and sensitive picture of life in what was officially known as the Soviet Union’s Chief Administration of Corrective Labor Camps and Colonies. The main exhibit, Days and Lives, gives a documentary run down of the experience of arrest, labor, suffering, dealing with criminal gangs, and how million died and survived imprisonment. It’s truly an amazing and much needed achievement in history and memory.
In addition to the exhibits on Gulag life, Barnes has also organized a series called Episodes in Gulag History. Episodes features conversations with scholars, writers, and others on different aspects of the Gulag system. So far there is only one conversation with University of Toronto History Professor Lynne Viola on her new book The Unknown Gulag: The Lost World of Stalin’s Special Settlements. I’m sure many more will soon follow. Subscribe to their podcast feed to stay updated.
This site will be a great addition for my upcoming History of Russia class.
Thanks to James at Robert Amsterdam for drawing my attention to it.
- By Sean — 10 years ago
The human rights organization Memorial was victorious in the Dzerzhinsky district court on Tuesday when Judge Andrei Shabakov ruled that the police raid on their office was “unlawful.”
The key issue driving Monday and Tuesday’s hearing was whether Memorial was given the right to have their lawyer present during the raid. Chief investigator Mikhail Kalganov argued that the organization was given the right to have a lawyer present but didn’t take advantage of it. Memorial’s lawyer Ivan Pavlov argued that Iosif Gabuniia arrived at the office to monitor the search, but the police refused to open the door. Gabuniia testified in court that “We don’t need lawyers here” was shouted through the door. Kalganov claimed that he wasn’t aware of any of this. Nevertheless, the judge found that Kalganov’s actions, or lack thereof, prevented the lawyer from representing his client during the search.
The case isn’t over yet. Authorities have yet to return the hard disks and other archival materials seized in the raid, prompting Memorial workers to remain cautious despite their legal victory. The court ruling goes into force only after 10 days and the police still have an opportunity to file an appeal.