The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia
A landmark account of what private life was like for Russians in the worst years of Soviet repression. We know of the public aspects of Stalin's dictatorship: the arrests and trials, the enslavement and killing in the gulags. No previous book, however, has explored the regime's effect on people's personal lives. Now, drawing on a huge collection of newly discovered documents, this book reveals the inner world of ordinary Soviet citizens amidst the mistrust, fear, compromises, and betrayals that pervaded their existence. Cultural historian Figes re-creates the moral maze in which Russians found themselves, where one wrong turn could destroy a family. He brings us inside cramped communal apartments, where minor squabbles could lead to fatal denunciations; he examines the Communist faithful, who often rationalized even their own arrests; and he casts a humanizing light on informers, demonstrating how, in a repressive system, anyone could easily become a collaborator.--From publisher description.