During the Soviet era, millions of Soviets - Socialist Revolutionaries, peasants, ordinary citizens, Bolshevik party activists and university students - were denounced, arrested, and imprisoned on fabricated charges of conducting "anti-state" activities. This volume recounts the testimonies of women whose family lives and careers were brutally disrupted by the nightmare of false accusation, torture, humiliation, hunger and unspeakable deprivation. The women in this book were "fortunate": unlike several million others, they survived. Published in Moscow in 1989, the narratives collected in this volume were written illegally and for many years hidden away from public view. Although in 1956 political prisoners began to be officially rehabilitated and declared innocent, their writings were repressed as "slandering the Soviet system". Although most of the authors were arrested in the Great Purges of the 1930s, the selections span the entire history of the Gulag Archipelago from the 1920s to the late 1940s, adding another 16 distinctive voices to the accounts published in the west by Yevgenia Ginsburg and Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
Simeon Vilensky, a former political prisoner and a writer and poet, is founder of Vozvrashchenie, an organisation in Moscow dedicated to preserving and publishing testimonies of Stalin's victims and aiding camp survivors.