Keeping Faith with the Party
Communist Believers Return from the Gulag
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 Based on oral histories, archives, and unpublished memoirs, Keeping Faith with the Party chronicles the stories of returnees who professed enduring belief in the CPSU and the Communist project.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
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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...
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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...
Introduction: Enduring Repression
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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...
Chapter 1: The Gulag Prisoner and the Bolshevik Soul
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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...
Chapter 2: Reconciling the Self with the System
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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...
Chapter 3: Beyond Belief: Party Identification and the “Bright Future”
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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...
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Chapter 4: Striving for a “Happy Ending”: Attempts to Rehabilitate Socialism
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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...
Chapter 5: The Legacies of the Repression
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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...
Epilogue: The “Bright Past,” or Whose (Hi)Story?
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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...
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About the Author
Page Count: 256
Illustrations: 15 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2012