We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Keeping Faith with the Party

Communist Believers Return from the Gulag

Nanci Adler

Publication Year: 2012

How is it that some prisoners of the Soviet gulag -- many of them falsely convicted -- emerged from the camps maintaining their loyalty to the party that was responsible for their internment? In camp, they had struggled to survive. Afterward they struggled to reintegrate with society, reunite with their loved ones, and sometimes renew Party ties. Based on oral histories, archives, and unpublished memoirs, Keeping Faith with the Party chronicles the stories of returnees who professed enduring belief in the CPSU and the Communist project. Nanci Adler's probing investigation brings a deeper understanding of the dynamics of Soviet Communism and of how individuals survive within repressive regimes while the repressive regimes also survive within them.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Frontispiece

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. -8


pdf iconDownload PDF
p. ix

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. xi-xiv

Early on in this research, an interview I conducted with a Gulag survivor somewhat inadvertently proved to be an excellent illustration of precisely the kinds of issues I was aiming to address. It was a follow-up to a previous interview almost ten years earlier. Right after I got to Moscow...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. xv-xvii

This work would not have been possible without the deeply personal contributions of a number of extraordinary individuals, who took the time to talk, listen, and think about a difficult, sensitive, and even painful subject. For this, I gratefully acknowledge...

read more

Introduction: Enduring Repression

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 1-23

One of the paradoxes of Soviet Communism was that a system of governance that enforced its ideology by executing, imprisoning, and exploiting the labor of groups or classes of undesirables, dissenters, alleged dissenters, and alleged associates of dissenters...

read more

Chapter 1: The Gulag Prisoner and the Bolshevik Soul

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 24-44

Oksana Lazarevna taught socioeconomics at Odessa University and was the mother of two. She was also the wife of an “enemy of the people,” who had been arrested and taken away. Oksana was a committed Party member, but as she watched the arrest...

read more

Chapter 2: Reconciling the Self with the System

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 45-72

Under Stalin, in the years before the 1956 Twentieth Party Congress, simply being charged with a crime was commonly prima facie evidence of being guilty, and punishment followed quickly. After Stalin’s death, and particularly after 1956, the Party...

read more

Chapter 3: Beyond Belief: Party Identification and the “Bright Future”

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 73-115

Mikhail Aleksandrovich Tanin had been a Party member since 1918, and by 1935 he had progressed through the Party hierarchy to become Khrushchev’s assistant. However, in 1937, while serving in the Moscow Party Committee, Tanin was arrested...


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 116-126

read more

Chapter 4: Striving for a “Happy Ending”: Attempts to Rehabilitate Socialism

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 127-147

It is a historical irony that those loyalist returnees and the family members of non-survivors, who had lived into, but not beyond, the Gorbachev era, died with the assurance that their faith in Communism had been redeemed. Their belief had survived the camp...

read more

Chapter 5: The Legacies of the Repression

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 148-168

The dissolution of the Soviet Union and the demise of the Party had not been foreseen by either Communists or non-Communists. But the Communist faithful were particularly ill-prepared to make sense of the disappearance of an empire, much less the political...

read more

Epilogue: The “Bright Past,” or Whose (Hi)Story?

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 169-175

Those who have witnessed the collapse of a regime, presided over an unsuccessful civil war, or mourned the demise of a political party could respond by undertaking a painful reappraisal of what went wrong. Instead, they often divert attention from the failed...


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 177-212

Works Cited

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 213-221


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 223-237

About the Author

pdf iconDownload PDF

E-ISBN-13: 9780253005717
E-ISBN-10: 025300571X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253357229

Page Count: 256
Illustrations: 15 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 785775736
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Keeping Faith with the Party

Research Areas


UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • Communism -- Soviet Union -- Psychological aspects.
  • Labor camps -- Soviet Union.
  • Ex-convicts -- Soviet Union.
  • Ex-convicts -- Soviet Union -- Attitudes.
  • Kommunisticheskai͡a partii͡a Sovetskogo Soi͡uza.
  • Allegiance -- Soviet Union.
  • Political persecution -- Soviet Union.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access