Drawings from the Gulag

Drawings from the Gulag

Hardback

By (author) Danzig Baldaev, Edited by Damon Murray, Foreword by Damon Murray, Edited by Stephen Sorrell, Foreword by Stephen Sorrell

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  • Publisher: Fuel Publishing
  • Format: Hardback | 240 pages
  • Dimensions: 164mm x 206mm x 20mm | 500g
  • Publication date: 31 October 2010
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0956356249
  • ISBN 13: 9780956356246
  • Edition statement: Iminal Tattoo E.
  • Sales rank: 36,715

Product description

Drawings from the Gulag consists of 130 drawings by Danzig Baldaev (author of the acclaimed Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia series), describing the history, horror and peculiarities of the Gulag system from its inception in 1918. Baldaev's father, a respected ethnographer, taught him techniques to record the tattoos of criminals in St. Petersburg's notorious Kresty prison, where Danzig worked as a guard. He was reported to the K.G.B. who unexpectedly offered support for his work, allowing him the opportunity to travel across the former U.S.S.R. Witnessing scenes of everyday life in the Gulag, he chronicled this previously closed world from both sides of the wire. With every vignette, Baldaev brings the characters he depicts to vivid life: from the lowest zek (inmate) to the most violent tattooed vor (thief), all the practices and inhabitants of the Gulag system are depicted here in incredible and often shocking detail. In documenting the attitude of the authorities to those imprisoned, and the transformation of these citizens into survivors or victims of the Gulag system, this graphic novel vividly depicts methods of torture and mass murder undertaken by the administration, as well as the atrocities committed by criminals upon their fellow inmates.

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Review quote

In the Soviet Union, desk drawers became sarcophagi; entombed within them were the creative endeavours of the most talented and perceptive Soviet citizens. Yet it is best not to idealise such hiding spaces as reserves of dormant illumination; indeed, there may have been no limit to the depths of darkness possible within them.Consider the case of Danzig Baldaev. Born in 1925 in Ulan-Ude, in east-central Russia, Baldaev was the son of an ethnographer who was arrested as an "enemy of the people." He grew up in an orphanage for the children of "enemies" and following his service in the second world war was "forced," as he described it, by the NKVD (a forerunner of the KGB) to work as a warder at Kresty prison in Leningrad, now St Petersburg. His employment in the Soviet penal system took him all over the USSR, but in private, he poured the psychological detritus of his profession into a terrifying work of sadistic pornography, which he dedicated, in 1988, to Alexander Solzhenitsyn.Roland E