Days and Lives :: Guards

Prisoner: Anna Andreeva

“The head of special unit came to me and asked: “Andreeva, draw the portrait of my wife and sons, but here is the deal…” The “deal” was the following… He brought photos of a woman when she was very young woman, the one he married, and of two boys, judging from the pictures, twelve–fourteen years old. I drew them against the backdrop of a sunny-sunny birch forest: a young woman sitting next to boys who looked more like her younger brothers. Both the head of the unit and his wife were very happy. As a token of gratitude he not only sent my letter, but also visited my parents and told them about me when he went on a business trip to Moscow.”

Guard Violence

Gulag guards endured their own brutal existence, and through a combination of frustration and indoctrination they frequently directed that brutality at inmates. In this videoclip, former prisoner Oleg Volkov recalls some of the violence at one of the Soviet Union’s first Gulag camps, in the Solovetsky islands.