- Enduring repression: narratives of loyalty to the party before, during and after the Gulag
- Europe-Asia Studies
- Volume | Issue number
- 62 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research (AIHR)
This article documents the attitudes—especially those of loyalty—among Gulag prisoners and returnees toward the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), and seeks to ascertain how their incarceration subsequently influenced those sentiments. It is paradoxical that some prisoners—many of whom were falsely convicted—endured gruelling, barely survivable, lengthy terms of labour camp and prison and emerged maintaining their loyalty toward the system of government that was responsible for their imprisonment. With the materials that have become available, we can now begin to understand this phenomenon. Explanations include the ‘traumatic bond’ (Stockholm Syndrome), communism (the Party) as a surrogate for institutionalised religion, cognitive dissonance and functionalism. This issue may offer insight into the larger question of how repressive regimes are maintained.
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