Novye Izvestia devoted more than one material to Guzel Yakhina’s book Zuleikha opens her eyes and the series based on her, which shows the life of Soviet people repressed by Stalin in the remote Siberian taiga. Historians testify that although the book and the series were severely criticized by the Stalinists, nevertheless, the picture described by Yakhina is very far from historical reality. In fact, the life of immigrants on an island in the middle of the Angara was a hundred times worse. How is this possible? The journalist Gleb Morev writes about this in his blog:
“There is a lot of controversy surrounding the DAU project - how cruelly Soviet life is portrayed there, and by what methods this is achieved. Here, however, I have another ready-made scenario: the story of May 1933 — again, not in 1937, but in 1933 (before the Nazi death camps for almost another ten years) —that happened on Nazino Island in the north of the West Siberian Territory. Two echelons with the so-called A “declassified element”, people arrested during the purge of cities, mainly Moscow and Leningrad, and deported to Siberia (for relatively short periods). The letter of V.A. Velichko, instructor of the Narym district committee of the Communist Party, to the name of Stalin has been preserved. Velichko wrote:
“The island itself turned out to be completely virgin, without any buildings. People were planted in the form in which they were taken in the cities and at the train stations: in spring clothes, without bedding, there were a lot of barefoot people. At the same time, there were no tools on the island, not a crumb of food [...] And all the medicines intended for serving the trains and following along with the trains were selected back in the city of Tomsk [...]
On the second day of arrival of the first echelon, 19 / V snow fell, the wind rose, and then frost. Hungry, emaciated people, without a roof, having no tools and in the bulk of their labor skills, and even more so the skills of organized struggle with difficulties, found themselves in a hopeless situation. Frozen, they were only able to burn bonfires; sitting, lying, sleeping by the fire, wandering around the island and eating rotten bark, especially moss, etc. It is difficult to say whether it was possible to do anything else, because for three days no food was given out to anyone. The island went on fires, smoke. People began to die. They burned alive by the fires during sleep, dying from exhaustion and cold, from burns and dampness that surrounded people [...]
In the first days after a sunny day, the grave digger’s team was able to bury only 295 corpses, leaving them uncleaned on the second day. A new day gave new mortality, etc. Immediately after snow and frost, rains and cold winds began, but people were still left without food. And only on the fourth or fifth day did rye flour arrive on the island, which they began to distribute to the settlers several hundred grams. Having received flour, people ran to the water and in hats, footcloths, jackets and trousers they made a talker and ate it. At the same time, a huge part of them just ate the flour (since it was in powder); fell and suffocated, dying of suffocation. All their lives on the island (from 10 to 30 days), the settlers received flour without any dishes. The most stable part of the ashes was in the fire of the tortillas; there was no boiling water. Blood remained the same bonfire. Such food did not correct the situation. Soon cannibalism began occasionally, and then in menacing proportions. First, in the remote corners of the island, and then where the case turned up. [...]
The commandant's office of the island buried thousands of kilograms of flour in the ground, because it was in the open air and deteriorated from the rains. Even the flour that was given to the labor settlers did not reach everyone. She received the so-called foremen, i.e., notorious criminals. They received bags of flour for the “brigade” and carried them to the forest, but the brigade was left without food. The inability or unwillingness to organize the service of people reached the point where, when they first brought flour to the island, they wanted to distribute it to the five thousandth in an individual, lively order. The inevitable happened: people crowded with flour and indiscriminate firing was carried out. At the same time, there were fewer casualties from gunfire than trampled, crushed, pressed into the mud. Presumably, the commandant of the island and its military workers, firstly, had little understanding of their tasks in relation to the people who were under their command, and, secondly, they were taken aback by the catastrophe that erupted. Otherwise, one cannot regard the system of beating with sticks, especially with rifle butts and individual executions of settlers [...]
Such methods of leadership and upbringing were very serious support for the breakup of any human organization that began from the very first days of life on the island. If cannibalism was the most acute indicator of this disintegration, then its mass forms were expressed in another: marauding gangs and gangs formed, which essentially reigned on the island. Even the doctors were afraid to leave their tents. Gangs terrorized people even in barges, taking away bread and clothes from labor settlers, beating and killing people. Here on the island a real hunt began, and first of all for people who had money and golden teeth and crowns. Their owner disappeared very quickly, and then the grave diggers began to bury people with mouths open [...].
The trouble is that among those who arrived at the labor settlement there are random, our elements. The bulk of them died because they were less adapted to the conditions that were on the island and in the areas and, in addition, the weight of arbitrariness, reprisals and looting from the side of relapse both in barges and on the island fell on these comrades first of all. first time in the plots. How many of them are hard to say, it is also difficult to say who [they] are, because the documents on their application were selected at the places of arrest by the isolation authorities, and mainly at the echelons with a relapse to smoking, but some of them brought documents with them : party tickets and candidate cards, Komsomol tickets, passports, certificates from factories, passes to factories, etc. [...]
1. Novozhilov Vl. from Moscow. Plant Compressor. Chauffeur. 3 times got awarded. Wife and child are in Moscow. Having finished work, he gathered with his wife to go to the cinema, while she dressed, went out for cigarettes and was taken.
2. Gusev, an elderly woman. Lives in Murom, the husband is an old communist, the chief conductor at the station [Murcia], production] experience of 23 years, the son is an assistant engineer there. Guseva came to Moscow to buy her husband a suit and white bread. No documents helped.
3. Zelenin Gregory. He worked as an apprentice fitter at the Red October weaving factory of Borovsk, traveling with a ticket to Moscow for treatment. The ticket did not help - it was taken. "
There are well-known lines by Akhmatova - a dialogue in the queue for a care package to the prison: “Can you describe THIS?“ And I said: I can”.
I would like to ask the filmmakers: Can you shoot this?”
The tragedy of the island of Death (this name is still alive today) was known to a very wide circle of people - officials of the Soviet and communist bodies, servants of Siblag, a local resident. But none of them dared to say a word except Vasily Velichko. Surprisingly, Velichko himself survived in the pre-war Stalinist meat grinder, went through the war, became a journalist and died in 1987.
Meanwhile, in the funds of the Tomsk memorial museum “The Investigative Prison of the NKVD” , typewritten memoirs of Andrei Karagodin, an employee of the Alexandrovsky-Vakhovsky commandant’s office, who worked on the island as a security guard and half a century later, recorded from memory the scene of the interrogation of one of the criminals:
“The commission from Siblag was located in the next room. A solid voice said: "Sit down!" and the interrogation began. I immediately realized that they were interrogating someone from those who lived on the island.
- Tell me, Gvozdev, is it true that you knocked out the teeth of the sick and dying?
- What for?
- To get gold crowns.
- What for?
- Change to terry. I want to smoke. And the watchmen could get a matchbox or two newspapers for each crown, twist the cigar box.
- So ... And you knocked out a lot of teeth?
- As many as needed, so many knocked out. I didn’t put it in the nest. I changed everything for terry, he smoked and treated friends.
- I see. And now you, Corners. Is it true that you ate human meat?
- No, not true. I only ate my liver and heart.
- Tell us how you did it in detail.
- Very simple. How do kebabs do. He made skewers from willow twigs, cut them into pieces, strung them onto skewers, and roasted them on a fire.
- And what kind of people did you get your meat from? The living or the dead?
“Why the dead. This is the carrion. I chose those that are no longer alive, but also still not dead. It can be seen that they almost are off, in a day or two they will be dead. So for them it’s easier to die... Now, right away, not to suffer another two or three days..."
The figure is terrible: about 4,500 people who built socialism on this island were killed by other builders of socialism ...
A logical question arises: if real life were shown in the series, such as it was described not by the writer Yakhina, but by her eyewitnesses, what would be the reaction of Stalin's idolaters? It’s scary to even imagine ...