Twenty Years in a Siberian Gulag

Memoir of a Political Prisoner at Kolyma


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About the Book

Caught up in one of the many purges that swept the Soviet Union during the Great Terror, Leonid Petrovich Bolotov (1906–1987) was one of 86 engineers arrested at Leningrad’s Red Triangle Rubber Factory and sent to the Gulag as “enemies of the people.” He would be the only one to survive and return to his family after enduring two decades in the infamous Kolyma labor camps.

Translated into English and published here for the first time, Bolotov’s memoir narrates with growing intensity his arrest, imprisonment and interrogation, his “confession” and trial, his exile to hard labor in Arctic Siberia, and his rehabilitation in 1956 following the official end of Stalin’s personality cult.

About the Author(s)

Irina Y. Barclay, professor of Russian and Russian literature at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, has over two decades of college teaching in America and Russia. She is a former Boris Yeltsin Presidential Scholar and, later, active in an organization headed by Mikhail Gorbachev. Dr. Barclay has authored over 50 articles and participated in dozens of conferences around the world.

Bibliographic Details

Leonid Petrovich Bolotov

Translated and edited by Irina Y. Barclay

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 284
Bibliographic Info: ca. 30 photos, glossary, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8221-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4039-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Translator-Editor’s Acknowledgments x
Translator-Editor’s Preface 1
Translator-Editor’s Introduction 3
Part I: Defeat of the Working Family
One—My Arrest 10
Two—Shpalernaia Prison 12
Three—My Interrogation 16
Four—Pruss and Aleksandrov 21
Five—The Sailor 25
Six—The Pilot 31
Seven—I’m Held in Captivity 36
Eight—The Hundredth Prisoner 43
Nine—My 60th Day in Prison 48
Ten—My Stay in Two Prisons 53
Eleven—The Night Before the Trial 57
Twelve—The Trial 63
Thirteen—I Meet My Convicted Friends 67
Fourteen—Second Transit Prison for Men 70
Fifteen—The Train: Leningrad to Vladivostok 73
Sixteen—Vladivostok Transit Camp 85
Seventeen—Behind Barbed Wire 88
Eighteen—Kulu 92
Part II: My Stay and Work in Kolyma
Nineteen—From Magadan to the Taiga 96
Twenty—The New Power 101
­Twenty-One—Baptism of Fire 104
­Twenty-Two—Panning Season 109
­Twenty-Three—Music While We Worked 115
­Twenty-Four—My Father’s Letter 120
­Twenty-Five—My Search for Firewood 124
­Twenty-Six—My Broken Leg 127
­Twenty-Seven—My New Friends 130
­Twenty-Eight—The Competition 133
­Twenty-Nine—World War II in the Gold Mine 136
Thirty—The ­Cave-In 139
­Thirty-One—The Unexpected Meetings 142
­Thirty-Two—Investigator Kulakov 146
­Thirty-Three—The New Accusation 149
­Thirty-Four—Jail 154
­Thirty-Five—Brevda’s Story 157
­Thirty-Six—My Last Judgment 160
­Thirty-Seven—The Finnish Shingles 163
­Thirty-Eight—Glass Factory 167
­Thirty-Nine—Young Thieves 173
Forty—Katia Maksakov’s Story 176
­Forty-One—Ivan Zelenin’s Story 182
­Forty-Two—Our Raskolnikov 184
­Forty-Three—The ­Blue-Eyed Blonde 186
­Forty-Four—Bears and Berries 191
­Forty-Five—Special Camp 5 193
­Forty-Six—A New Order 198
­Forty-Seven—Freedom—with Restrictions 203
­Forty-Eight—Dishwashing 210
­Forty-Nine—The Family Cares 213
Fifty—Nina’s Arrival 216
­Fifty-One—Nina’s Arrest 221
­Fifty-Two—Tomsk’s Jail 226
­Fifty-Three—Nina’s Release and Meeting with Children 231
­Fifty-Four—The First Thawed Patch 237
­Fifty-Five—In Leningrad 239
­Fifty-Six—Our New Lives Begin 244
Translator-Editor’s Afterword 247
Glossary 251
Abbreviations 254
Bibliography 257
Index 263