10 thoughts on “Serene Images of the Russian Village”

  1. ‘We have been happily borne – or perhaps have unhappily dragged our weary way – down the long and crooked streets of our lives, past all kinds of walls and fences made of rotting wood, rammed earth, brick, concrete, iron railings. We have never given a thought to what lies behind them. We have never tried to penetrate them with our vision or our understanding. But there is where the Gulag country begins, right next to us, two yards away from us. In addition, we have failed to notice an enormous number of closely fitted, well-disguised doors and gates in these fences. All those gates were prepared for us, every last one! And all of a sudden the fateful gate swings quickly open, and four white male hands, unaccustomed to physical labour but nonetheless strong and tenacious, grab us by the leg, arm, collar, cap, ear, and drag us in like a sack, and the gate behind us, the gate to our past life, is slammed shut once and for all.’

    Thus did Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn open his book, ‘The Gulag Archipelago.’ The first camp of this system, termed by him as a ‘mother tumour’ exuding ‘more metastases from itself’ was Solovki, known as SLON, situated on the Solovetsky islands. The transformation of this prison laid the foundations of the infamous Soviet labour camp organism: it was the prototype for the future brutality. Although not the only place where dissidents could be incarcerated in the early 1920s, it was, however, the guinea-pig of the Soviet secret police: they developed methods there which led to slave-labour becoming a profitable asset to the regime. – Julia Routledge

  2. It looks very romantic, but it must be a very difficult and isolating way of living to be such a monk in these photos. Many people could not withstand it.

  3. Went to these places this summer. They are truly scenic. However, I though that they are quite isolated but I was very wrong and was shocked how very turistic they are: I went there on an ordinary Wednesday in the summer and even at that time there were 2 daily boats with 200 people on each!

    Solovki can be easily reach by train from Moscow or Petersburg and ferry boat. And the wooden church on the 4th pic is not in Solovki but in Rabocheostrovsk in the mainland (port of Kem city).

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