Paul Gregory, author of Politics, Murder, and Love in Stalin’s Kremlin: The Story of Nikolai Bukharin and Anna Larina (Hoover Institution Press, 2010), is passing the hat. It’s for a good cause.
He and Muscovite documentary filmmaker Marianna Yarovskaya are in the final stages of filming his 2013 book, Women of the Gulag. (Marcel Krüger has an interview with Yarovskaya here.) They’re nearly a quarter of the way to the $25,000 they need to complete final editing, sound mix, and music. Want to help? Go to Indiegogo here.
From the introduction to Women of the Gulag:
A remark often attributed to Stalin is, “A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.”
This is the story of five such tragedies. They are stories about women because, as in so many cases, it was the wives and daughters who survived to tell what happened.
These five women put a human face on the terror of Stalin’s purges and the Gulag in the Soviet Union of the 1930s. They show how the impersonal orders emanating from the Kremlin office of “the Master” brought tragedy to their lives. They cover the gamut of victims. Two are wives and daughters in ordinary families unable to comprehend why such misfortune has overtaken them. A third is a young bride living in the household of a high party official. The last two are wives of the Master’s executioners. These stories are based on their memoirs—some written by themselves, others by close friends or by their children.
“Why film a bunch of old babushkas?” Marianna is asked. According to Washington Post‘s Pulitzer-prizewinning Anne Applebaum, who appears in the film, “What had happened since the year 2000 is that history has been gradually re-politicized. And the Russians started treating history that way. And that means that they’ve become more sensitive again about discussing this sort of crimes of their past. For the Russians, understanding the history of the gulag is absolutely crucial.”
She tells us that Russia still lacks “that defining moment, that big monument” that will help the Russian people come to terms with their past.
“I wish to express my support for Dr. Paul Gregory’s and Marianna Yarovskaya’s documentary project, Women of the Gulag. Although there have been a number of excellent Gulag documentaries, this film is intended to tell the personal stories of just a few former prisoners in greater detail. It will also focus on the stories of women, which differed in a number of ways from that of their male counterparts. Rape, pregnancy and motherhood were a part of the Gulag experience, too.”
The film below gives a preview of their work. I hope you find it as riveting as I do – and please do pony up whatever you can over at Indiegogo here. Putin won’t thank you. That’s one reason to do it.