All posts tagged Stalin

Assessing sources: Russian criminal tattoos

I’m currently working on a book chapter  about the body in labour camp narratives. This was actually pretty much the starting point for my current research, so I’m in part revisiting an article published in Gulag Studies in 2008 on the Gulag body and self-mutilation. More recently, I’ve been thinking about the representation of different […]

Historical memory of the Gulag (3): Contested memory

The failure to establish a central memorial to the victims of the Gulag mentioned in my previous post is part of a problem of contested memory that has been apparent since the demise of the Soviet Union but has escalated in the last decade or so. As Arseny Roginsky’s eloquent essay The Embrace of Stalinism shows, […]

Judging books by their covers

As part of some work on Vasily Grossman (about which more anon), I’ve been catching up with my reading on Gulag history. Stephen Cohen’s The Victims Return finally arrived at the library, so I went to get it out. The first thing that struck me was how similar its cover was to another recent book on Gulag […]

Four short links: Soviet posters

Soviet poster art was truly remarkable, and some amazing examples are available on the internet. My favourite sites are: 1) Plakaty.ru. A huge gallery with a wide range of subjects, from military to entertainment and advertising, including this one from the propaganda section, which reads: ‘Stalin’s mood makes our army and country strong and solid!’ […]

Russians in London: Lenin

I’m no fan of Lenin, but he spent a good deal of time in London, so must be included in this series. I haven’t chosen this mugshot as an expression of my disapproval – it’s just that most of the photos that are available were taken after the revolution, and this one is the closest […]

An Interview with Robert Chandler

The Road, Robert Chandler’s new collection of translations of Vasily Grossman’s short stories and essays, will be published by MacLehose Press on 14th October 2010. On Monday 4th October at 6.30pm, he will be giving a talk about Grossman at Pushkin House, 5a Bloomsbury Square, to mark the publication. Here I talk to Robert about Grossman’s writing […]

Soviet jokes

The book I’ve been reading for fun over the last few days could, for once, actually be described as fun: Ben Lewis, Hammer and Tickle: A History of Communism Told Through Communist Jokes (2008). Actually, it isn’t that funny, partly because analyses of humour never are (the worst research seminar I’ve ever been to was […]

Merthyr Tydfil: the cradle of civilization

Merthyr Tydfil is one of my other interests, because of family connections and most importantly a great-great-uncle, D.B. Davies, who played rugby league for Merthyr and Wales in the early 1900s. (D.B. stands for Dai ‘Brecon Road’ Davies, to distinguish him from the other Dai Davies on the Merthyr team; here are some old photos […]

Four short links: the Stalin era

1. Stalinka: Digital Archive of Staliniana. Lots of images (593 to be precise), including photos, posters, paintings, cartoons, and even a few pictures from the Blue Noses Group’s 2007 Naked Truth series (if you’ve never seen them, and aren’t easily offended, do take a look). Those works notwithstanding, I’m somewhat dubious about the concept of […]

Krupskaya: an apology

I’ve been criticized by my boyfriend for my unsisterly (although true — even he admits it) comment about Nadezhda Krupskaya in a recent post. So, I apologise, and instead will enumerate some of the many valid reasons there are to dislike the woman. There is, of course, her dreadful hagiography, Reminiscences of Lenin. And the fact […]