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WCED Lecture. Never Remember: Searching for Stalin's Gulags in Putin's Russia

Masha Gessen, Russian-American author, journalist, and activist; Misha Friedman, photographer

Magadan by Misha Friedman Magadan by Misha Friedman
The Gulag was a monstrous network of labor camps in the Soviet Union that held and killed millions of prisoners from the 1930s to the 1950s. More than half a century after the end of Stalinist terror, the geography of the Gulag has been barely sketched and the number of its victims remains unknown. Has the Gulag been forgotten? Writer Masha Gessen and photographer Misha Friedman set out across Russia in search of the memory of the Gulag. They journey from Moscow to Sandarmokh, a forested site of mass executions during Stalin’s Great Terror; to the only Gulag camp turned into a museum, outside of the city of Perm in the Urals; and to Kolyma, where prisoners worked in deadly mines in the remote reaches of the Far East. They find that in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, where Stalin is remembered as a great leader, Soviet terror has not been forgotten: it was never remembered in the first place.

Books by the authors will be available to purchase from Literati following the lecture.

Masha Gessen is a Russian-American journalist and the best-selling biographer of Vladimir Putin. A staff writer at The New Yorker, her work appears regularly in The New York Times and many other publications. She has published numerous books on topics including Putin’s Russia, the protests of Pussy Riot, and the Tsarnaev brothers who were responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings. Gessen is an outspoken critic of the re-imposition of totalitarian structures in Russia and a strong advocate for LGBTQ rights. She is a visiting professor at Amherst College and a resident of New York City.

Misha Friedman is an award-winning photographer whose work is regularly featured in The New Yorker, Time, Der Spiegel, Le Monde and The New York Times. Never Remember is Friedman’s third book. Previous work in Ukraine and Russia has covered corruption, private lives of LGBTQ people, and the faith of reforms. Friedman has degrees in economics and political science from Binghamton University and London School of Economics. He worked in finance and later in humanitarian aid with Doctors Without Borders before turning to photography. A native of Moldova, he lives with his family in New York City.

This project was made possible in part by a major grant from the Wallenberg Executive Committee and the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies at the University of Michigan.
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When and Where

Map Weiser Hall - 1010

March 2018

7:00pm - 9:00pm

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