Bas Kreuger's Reviews > The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia

The Whisperers by Orlando Figes
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Feb 11, 12


A disturbing book. It describes in detail, maybe too much detail as it gets repetetive at places, the lives of Soviet citizens during Stalins reign.
There is the torture of the secret police, the spying by colleagues, family members and just people in the streets. That is gruesom in itself, but even more frightning is the state of mind people are getting into, a form of collective psychological damage of a whole society that gets ingrained with distrust, deformed shapes of loyality versus state, Stalin and family.
Even generations after Stalins death in 1953 people are burdend with this way of thinking and don't dare to, or are incapable of, opening up to close relatives, children and friends.

Looking at it this way Stalins Russia was far more damaging than Hitlers Third Reich ever was. Besides the litteral destruction of people (millions and millions in the Gulag, prisons, of hunger, exile and destructive campaigns against kulaks), millions of people were figuratively destroyed in their psyche.
It would take at least four to five generations to heal these wounds and make Russia 'normal' again in my opinion
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