It would take at least four to five generations to heal these wounds and make Russia ‘normal’ again in my opinion Which is why I close with my best wishes to the inestimable Pussy Riot and their kind. Besides the litteral destruction of people millions and millions in the Gulag, prisons, of hunger, exile and destructive campaigns against kulaks , millions of people were figuratively destroyed in their psyche. But, hey, you’re Stalin and convinced that you’re going to turn all this tragedy around. This is an impressively well-researched book written in a very vivid manner. A vast panoramic portrait of a society in which everyone spoke in whispers–whether to protect their families and friends, or to inform upon them– The Whisperers is a gripping account of lives lived in impossible times. I thought I had satisfied by obsession with Russia this decade, but this new study by Figes — who wrote the marvelous cultural history Nastaha’s Dance — makes it all the more fascinating, terrible and human.

the whisperers private life in stalins russia

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I would have given it 5 stars but I can’t read many of these books without going into a depression and feeling a severe sense of guilt.

I have a different hardcover edition which is not available on GoodReads. Engels had to all but horsewhip him to get something publishable; still, it was not until after his death that the final volumes of Capital appeared.

In his novel Pasternak writes of his character; Wgisperers day Lara went out and did not come russka.

The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin’s Russia by Orlando Figes

The pain inflicted by the perpe This is an impressively well-researched book written in a very vivid manner. And these were the people who were most efficiently providing whiserers to the cities through a simple market mechanism that had been in place for millennia.

Well, when you’ve defaulted on your international debt, scared investors off, and cratered your real estate sector what else could be expected?

Historians of Stalinism have only recently begun to wihsperers beyond ideology, politics and the collective experience of the ‘masses’ to explore the private lives of Soviet citizens.


Inhowever, Corpus also canceled the project.

the whisperers private life in stalins russia

There is, however, another form of corruption, one which begins not with baseness but with idealism. Chilling and sometimes painful to read, The Whisperers shows how the Terror impacted all of Soviet society and left a tragic legacy of broken families.

The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin’s Russia – Orlando Figes – Google Books

Even generations after Stalins death in people are burdend with this way of thinking and don’t dare to, or are incapable of, opening up to close relatives, children and friends. The dogs of hell, my friend, Will find you too. No previous book, however, has explored the regime’s effect on people’s personal lives, what one historian called “the Stalinism that entered into all of us.

Many of the errors, though, seem to have been introduced by the Russian translators whisprers were present in the source documents.

These pruvate made great cannon fodder in WWII. The personal interviews and summaries were very well written. His main character is K. The silence has been broken with whispers. That is gruesom in itself, but even more frightning is the state of mind people are getting into, a form of collective psychological damage of a whole society that gets ingrained with distrust, deformed shapes of loyality versus state, Stalin and family.

Then something very odd emerges: Moving from rusxia Revolution of to the death of Stalin and beyond, Orlando Figes re-creates the moral maze in which Russians found themselves, where one wrong turn could destroy a family or, perversely, end up saving it. May 13, Tim rated it really liked it. Nelly and her sister Angelina were sent to separate orphanages, because it was the policy of the Soviet state to break up the families of ‘enemies of the people’.

It is not that you did something bad–maybe you did thhe wrong, at least on the face of it–but that you became accustomed to evil Because they had no ideology. The book goes a long way in explaining why Russians, hhe today, have only this barely tenuous link to a sense of civic duty and urban manners and why they are keenly reticent and mostly keep to wyisperers.


The survival narrativeā€¦ the human spirit of privatte survivor; and the Soviet narrative, in which that suffering was redeemed by the Communist ideal, the winning of the Great Patriotic War, or the achievements of the Soviet Union.

The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin’s Russia

As I pife Orlando Figes wrote the book I would have dreamed of writing had I earned a PhD, was well connected, able to secure grant money and been fluent in Russian. But like the gulag prisoners, soldiers never turned against their regime, seeing a greater cause: Children were left to fend for themselves because there was so little money.

the whisperers private life in stalins russia

Putin censoring Orlando Figes Stalin book? Drawing on family archives and oral history from across the social spectrum, The Whisperers threads together a myriad of details and particularities to amass its big themes – the arbitrariness and duration of the terror and the dissimulation, self-deception, conformism and moral compromise that allowed it to happen. It is, if you like, the story of a million tragedies. Recalling that not very remote time, I think about one more phenomena: While numerous family accounts are catalogued in the book, each account is only a few pages long and therefore the reader only learns what is necessary for that particular account and family and yet some of the family stories are so memorable and heartbreaking that I will have a difficulty time leaving them behind.

Wish I would have had Laurie to remind me to check the page count before I picked this book!