Ah I love Evtushenko’s poetry. I wrote about him last semester for 20th Century Russia. His work was so fascinating because it sat right on the line of controversial and accepted. How do you think this balance was played out in public reception of his work?
This story is so fascinating because it emphasizes the hyper-awareness and insecurity in the state and the concept of safety. Good post!
I like the perspective this brings to the people. It shows the people how life inside the Gulag was, and shows that a lot of people in there were innocent and that they were put in there because of misunderstandings like Ivan.
I think that its interesting that a place like the “Scientific Hub” existed in the Soviet Union. Its concept goes against everything the soviets stood for prior to Khrushchev, and that they were not bound by soviet ideologies was interesting.
Great post, i like the part where you talked about Shagrin’s protesting in the mental hospital, and the fact that the government put people they didn’t want in public in there as “mentally ill” and Shagrin was protesting that.
Ivan sure puts into perspective what it meant to live in a camp, with barely surviving being considered a good day. This sort of literature was powerful during Destalinization.
After reading his entry, it seems that Shagrin emphasizes individualism as a cause of the “thaw”. Breaking the Stalinist tendencies was a process that each individual had to go through to “open their eyes” to the new realities of the USSR
People I know who worked there said it was an amazing experience. An intellectual’s paradise in many respects.
The death of Stalin brought relief but also uncertainty, which I think is reflected well in Yevtushenko’s reflections. Eventually Soviets were able to shake their emotional attachment.
Interesting how you described the transition from sadness into extreme hate after Yevtushenko found out about Stalin’s death. I would imagine it to be hard to feel sad or mourn for the death of someone who has caused so much sadness for your people (even harder since technically the Soviets were ordered to love Stalin)