Article: PDF
DOI: 10.51762/1FK-2021-26-04-08
Abstract: This article is devoted to a group of closely related people who, having fought Bolsheviks, remained in Soviet Russia, adopting survivalist conformism, yet did not avoid arrest, prison, exile and camp; who escaped from the country to save their lives and speak analytically about the USSR; who fell into the trap of a “conspiracy of silence” which still lasts. Firstly, the notion of ‘elsewhereness’ is applied to their life-time peripeties. Secondly, ‘liminality’ the unity of those peripeties with a posthumous sequel, considering them part of the group’s interaction with a hegemonising agency, showing the correlativity between ‘elsewhereness’ and ‘liminality’, and applying theoretic perspectives on ‘liminality’ by Spariosu and Szakolczai. Put differently, I view the condition of enduring a “conspiracy of silence” is viewed as an aspect of ‘elsewhereness’, and the policy of “silencing” the group as ‘liminalisation’, yet recognising that the ‘agents’ of “silencing” are themselves inscribed in a liminal situation. Thirdly, the non-personal object of “silencing” is identified – the set of accounts and ideas ignored due to their unpleasantness or to reservations about their source: the pre-Solzhenitsyn accounts and ideas about Gulag, at which anglophone scholarship arrives only recently as if at its own discoveries, while selectively ignoring the precedents. Fourthly, that set is related to ‘elsewhereness’ and ‘liminality’, viewing concentration camp experience as one both of ‘being-elsewhere’ and ‘liminal’, and the venture to create those camps as ‘liminal’. Alongside with this, the heurism of generalisations by I. Solonevich, one of the members of the aforementioned group, and by some people who, in different times, followed the Solonevichs beyond the state border of the USSR (M. Nikonov-Smorodin, M. Heller), is demonstrated.
Key words: Gulag studies; elsewhereness; liminality; exilic-utopian imagination; permanent liminality; Ivan Solonevich; Mikhail Nikonov-Smorodin; Mikhail Heller; conspiracy of silence

Для цитирования:

Люцканов, Й. Раннее «гулаговедение» между остракизмом и забывчивостью // Philological Class. – 2021. – Vol. 26 ⋅ №4. – С. 96–106. DOI 10.51762/1FK-2021-26-04-08.

For citation

Lyutskanov, Y. (2021). Early Gulag Studies Between Ostracism And Forgetfulness. In Philological Class. 2021. Vol. 26 ⋅ №4. P. 96–106. DOI 10.51762/1FK-2021-26-04-08.

About the author(s) :

Yordan Lyutskanov

Institute for Literature at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (Sofia, Bulgaria)

ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6363-1585

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