Gulag Boss: A Soviet Memoir

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9780199934867: Gulag Boss: A Soviet Memoir

"Gulag scholars should mine Mochulsky's memoir for insights into the decision-making process of a local camp boss facing often contradictory directives, knowing that failure could easily turn a boss into a prisoner." --The Journal of World History"This is a fascinating memoir, presenting for the first time the voice of a "gulag boss." It offers a devastating counterpoint to the existing picture of Stalin's gulag that we have from victims' memoirs. The discovery and superb translation of this memoir by Deborah Kaple represents a major contribution to Gulag studies." --Lynne Viola, author of The Unknown Gulag: The Secret World of Stalin's Special Settlements"Many memoirs by people who lived under the Stalinist regime in the USSR have appeared, but few give any real sense of how the repressive apparatus functioned. Fyodor Mochulsky's memoir offers the perspective of a Gulag prison camp official who, despite being a committed Communist, was able to sense a disjuncture between his expectations and the terrible reality he confronted. Although Mochulsky's memoir is necessarily selective and was written with the benefit of hindsight, it gives a valuable sense of some of the things he felt and the dilemmas he faced while overseeing Gulag operations. The memoir undoubtedly leaves out the worst aspects of Mochulsky's job, but he does not pretend to have been a hero or a closet dissident. If only inadvertently, his account lays bare the evils of the system he loyally served." --Mark Kramer, director of Cold War Studies, Harvard University"Gulag Boss provides a unique and fascinating insight into the mind and morality of the men who ran the Soviet concentration camps."--Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gulag: A History"A fascinating memoir" --American Thinker "This unique viewpoint on the harsh Stalinist prison system is an important historical document" --New York Post"Essential reading ... I could ha


This tension between what Mochulsky saw as his duty and the painful reality of the Gulag runs throughout his memoir. This is perhaps what makes Gulag Boss such an important book. It brings us close to understanding why and how someone like Mochulsky could be reconciled to working within such a repressive apparatus, in the light of his own sense of responsibility. ( Peter Whitewood, University of Leeds, European History Quarterly)

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