It was 1957. Stalin was finally dead and Irina Verblovskaya and Revolt Pimenov were young intellectuals in Leningrad. They thought a new era had begun in the Soviet Union and the horrors of totalitarianism were behind them. Even after Irina was arrested, she never thought she would actually be charged with a crime. When she was sentenced to five years in a Gulag labor camp, she still couldn’t believe she’d really serve the time.
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.