–Grandma! They’re building those apartments so fast, it’s the first time I’ve seen something like this in my life!<BR>–Me too. Russia has always suffered from a lack of housing which meant that those who could not get a housing contract would not be able to hold down a job in … Continue reading →
One major step that was taken during the “De-Stalinization” period was to grant amnesty to the many people who were thrown into the Gulag during Stalin’s dictatorship. On March 27, 1953 the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR granted amnesty to “…persons sentenced for up to five years, those … Continue reading →
The Soviet Army had been pushed back since the German advance into Russia but at the City of Stalingrad the Soviets were able to turn the tide of the war on their front. Hitler had decided to divert forces who would have gone to capture the strategic oil fields which … Continue reading →
A problem that the Soviet Union had continued to encounter was a lack of work ethic among the working class. The government previously had just expected the workers to work as hard as possible without any kind of incentive for their extra labor for the good of the state. However, … Continue reading →
Stalin saw how ineffective the current farming method (strip farming) was and with the expansion of industrialization saw collectivization as the perfect opportunity to improve agricultural production. However, in order to accomplish this Stalin would have to take on the peasantry and kulaks who had been using the strip farming … Continue reading →
Lenin created the New Economic Policy or NEP due to the lack of food and other necessities that were the result of previous policies. World War I had caused a lot of supply shortages and in order to try and solve this issue “War Communism” was introduced which only made … Continue reading →
The Russian army went through a revolution of its own in 1917. Considering that Russia had been at war for a few years and was performing poorly in battle it’s no wonder that the army went through such drastic changes. The Russian army consisted mostly of peasants who were poorly … Continue reading →
Lenin’s views on the trade unions were that they were simply spontaneous movements that didn’t help to further the development of a “consciousness” amongst the workers. This “consciousness” represented a driving force of the movement; the workers needed a higher purpose beyond just their present problems such as poor wages, … Continue reading →
Zindan, The Emir’s Prison My name is Matt Williford and I am a history major. I’m also minoring in classical studies and psychology. I have always had some interest in Russian history, more specifically around the time of World War II. This is also my first Russian history class that … Continue reading →
My name is Matt Williford and I am a history major. I’m also minoring in classical studies and psychology. I have always had some interest in Russian history, more specifically around the time of World War II. This is also my first Russian history class that I have taken so I am excited to learn more about Russia and its people.
The link above will take you to the picture of the zindan or prison located in Bukhara, Uzbekistan, also known as the Emir’s Prison. At first glance you’ll notice the Russian guard with his rifle and bayonet, as well as a robed man squatting by the crude iron bars. More than likely he was visiting one or more of the men in the jail. To provide a bit more information the word zindan is Persian for a dungeon or prison. The prison itself consisted of two parts with the first being cells just like in the picture. These were mostly debtor’s prisons but there were also solitary confinement cells. The second part was a deep, dark pit where criminals would be confined too. The only way in and out of the pit was by a rope system making escape impossible. To make things worse the pit was often referred to as the “bug pit” due to the local population of poisonous scorpions and other insects. Many prisoners were killed by these poisonous insects and died in agony. However, after every two months prisoners would be removed from their cells and brought before the Emir (I have provided a link to a picture of the Emir below) who would then decide who would be put to death and who would be pardoned for their crimes.
You may be wondering why these photos are important or relevant to Russian history. Well looking at how these prisoners were treated sort of reminds me of a small scale version of Soviet prison camps and perhaps these early simple prisons helped set the foundation for more large-scale and elaborate system of prison camps that became prevalent during the reign of Joseph Stalin during World War II and after. Do you think that this prison helped serve as a model for future Soviet prisoner camps?
These images were created by photographer, Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii
The permanent records are located in the following links:
–http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/prk2000002573/ (Prisoners in a Zindan with Guard)
–http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/prk2001000001/ (The Emir of Bukhara)