Gulag Archipelago by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, April 13, 2005
Reviewer: Joseph S. Maresca "Dr. Joseph S. Maresca CPA, CISA" (Bronxville, New York USA)
The Archipelago refers to many great ports scattered from the
Bering Strait to Bosporus.There were thousands of small islands where people were transported for varying periods of time.
In addition, there were transit prisons at Ust-Usa and portable
confinements by rail.
Prisoners were subjected to extensive methods of interrogation
including sleep deprivation at night, persuasion, humiliation,
cursing, long periods of standing, sound effects, lighting and
general confusion. Trials were quick and often it was difficult
to access witnesses because they were scattered or in prison
People in every station of life were imprisoned for a variety
of reasons- most of them directed to criticism of the State.
Tanya Khodkevich was imprisoned for saying:
" you can pray freely,
But just so G-d alone can hear'
Students were arrested for criticism of the system.
Historians; such as, Platonov and Gotye were arrested.
The Buryat-Monguls were imprisoned in Kazakhstan. Tribal
members of the Northern Caucasus were jailed. People were
convicted by analogy, place of birth/origin or contact
with persons considered "dangerous" to the State.
The work is a testament to the implementation of power in the
Soviet State from Lenin onward. It is written in a
belles lettres style-much like a continuous story. The volume is
highly recommended for a wide audience of college students,
historians, journalists and readers of great literature.
Drawing on his own incarceration and exile, as well as on evidence from more than 200 fellow prisoners and Soviet archives, Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn reveals the entire apparatus of Soviet repression -- the state within the state that ruled all-powerfully.
Through truly Shakespearean portraits of its victims -- men, women, and children -- we encounter secret police operations, labor camps and prisons; the uprooting or extermination of whole populations, the "welcome" that awaited Russian soldiers who had been German prisoners of war. Yet we also witness the astounding moral courage of the incorruptible, who, defenseless, endured great brutality and degradation. The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956 -- a grisly indictment of a regime, fashioned here into a veritable literary miracle -- has now been updated with a new introduction that includes the fall of the Soviet Union and Solzhenitsyn's move back to Russia.