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The Dancer | Generation Gulag: Azari Plesetsky

Born in a special Gulag camp for the wives and families of the men arrested by Stalin, Azari Plesetsky is one of the thousands who grew up fatherless after Stalin's repressions. Ballet was an escape for the Plesetsky children — Maya, Azari and Alexander — who became some of the Soviet Union's most celebrated dancers. The memory of the cruelty of Soviet authoritarianism has never faded for Azari. He has a message for us about why historical wounds must be reopened.

Generation Gulag is a series of nine short documentary films that uncovers the impact of Russia’s campaign to rewrite the history of Gulag survivors. The series features interviews and animated illustrations of the survivors’ memories, offering an accessible medium for understanding the dangers of recent campaigns to make history books fit new political narratives.

This story was first published by Coda Story. Watch the Generation Gulag series here.