A Gulag Memoir
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: Slavica Publishers
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Table of Contents
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This is a unique voice of a vain, flamboyant, irritating, complex, and amazing woman whose life spans most of the Soviet epoch. Agnessa, a small-‐‑town beauty, married a high-‐‑ranking NKVD operator, “Mirosha,” who was the great love of her life. Her family referred to Mirosha as an executioner—and he was. Young, restless, and naive when she met him in 1926, she reveled in...
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Part I. Paradise and Purgatory - Side by Side
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You know, I love Chekhov above all other writers. Only now have I begun to value him. He is also interesting to me because he was on Sakhalin at the very moment that my maternal grandfather was released from penal servitude on the island of Sakhalin. I think Chekhov knew him. I told my grandfather’s...
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Greece! It is the homeland of my forebears. My father, Ivan Pavlovich Agripopulo, was an ethnic Greek born in Turkey. The tsarist government had permitted a certain number of Turkish Greeks to settle in Russia to save them from Turkish savagery, so Papa came as a very small child with his parents to Anapa on the Black Sea. When he was a young man, for some reason he...
Mama, My Sister Lena, and My Brother Pavel
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Oh, how I want to live until 1986. Can you guess why? Because that’s when Haley’s comet will appear again. It returns every seventy-five or seventy-six years. I saw it in my childhood. As it came closer and closer to the earth, growing larger and larger in the sky, lots of people believed that the world...
Zarnitsky, My First Husband
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The Whites had been in Maikop for several years. When the Reds came in March of 1920, I was seventeen years old, almost eighteen, and I was just finishing gymnasium. The Reds told us that we must now pass an exam in political economy, and they sent a lecturer to our school. He was a small, scraggly man. But he was so passionate about all that stuff—“communism...
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His real name was Miron Iosifovich Korol. In those days it was fashionable to
take a pseudonym, and he became Sergei Naumovich Mironov. His family
and close friends called him Mirosha.
I saw him for the first time in Rostov in 1923 or 1924, when Ivan Aleksandrovich was still the chief of staff of border troops in the Northern Caucasus....
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I had left suddenly, without warning. Mama, my brother Pavel, and his daughter remained in Ivan Aleksandrovich’s care for some time. I left all my things—excuse me, down to my brassieres—at home where they lay untouched. My underwear, my black gloves, the hat with little plumes that Ivan...
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I was in Karaganda twice. The first time was in 1931 when Mirosha and I moved to Alma-‐‑Ata. Mirosha was named deputy to V. A. Karutsky, the plenipotentiary representative of the OGPU in Kazakhstan. (Before Karutsky the head of the OGPU was Danilov, who was removed for engaging in contraband.)...
My Life With Mirosha, 1930-39
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When Mirosha and I lived in Alma-Ata from 1930 to 1933 and then in Dnepropetrovsk from 1933 to 1936, every year we took a holiday on the Black Sea and often jumped over to Grozny, Vladikavkaz, or Tbilisi, all places where Mirosha had many friends from previous work....
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My true husband was Mirosha. Not Zarnitsky and not even Mikhail Davydovich, although I bow to his intellect and talent.
But Mirosha was no more. When I heard “ten years without right of correspondence” I understood—this was the end. All sorts of rumors circulated, information from behind the stone walls. Abrashka surfaced again. But my...
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Part II. Who Will Repay?
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From the Kuibyshev jail they took me—an important state criminal—to Moscow. Three officers of the Ministry of Defense took me to the train station in a Black Maria carrying my dossier. Everywhere you looked there were armed soldiers. Three strapping men standing guard over one woman who was guilty of nothing while a horrible war was on, the enemy already in the Caucasus....
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When I got to my sister Lena’s I was aghast at how poor they were. Now it was clear to me that my “Mongolian” things had gone to keep them alive. In the camps I couldn’t understand why they didn’t send me parcels. And other things had been left in Moscow. We had left two trunks with the mother of one of Mikhail Davydovich’s colleagues and with Nadya, the wife of...
The Last Party
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Agnessa never missed her birthday, not once in her life even in the most difficult prison and camp conditions. She celebrated it always and everywhere in any way she could. Of course she would not miss it here in Moscow. And no matter how small her pension she celebrated it lavishly, even more so now that she had a small inheritance. She baked the traditional Napoleon, she...
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Agnessa and Mira met in 1960 as mature adults. Agnessa was fifty-seven and Mira forty-three. Agnessa’s adventures were behind her. Mira’s fulfillment was still ahead of her. Dramatically different as were their backgrounds and life experience, each had in her own way lived through the same “painful and difficult years—world wars, hunger and devastation, the Stalin years and...
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Publication Year: 2012
Series Title: The Allan K. Wildman Group Historical Series
Series Editor Byline: Michael Melancon and Alice K. Pate