For My Mother Eva Figes and to the Memory of the Family We Lost, Orlando Figes “The Wisperers” (Private Life in Stalin’s Russia), 2007.

YasovaLidiysand DadAll the best and worst what is in me because of my mama and papa. They influenced on me from my first step and until now.

Sometimes memory is working in strange ways catching the single moment of mother’s hands or how Grandfather is reading me a book… Listen to the songs:“Mamma”, R. Loretti“Mama’s Hands”, G. Jones

Today’s talks of the lost or persecuted parents or grandparents. This is all together is another story.

So O. Figes’s book The Whisperers” brought back memories of our childhood and youth when we lived through Stalin’s Russia. The author interviewed more than 400 people, thoroughly put their stories together, great job!, and still the impressions are not the same if somebody, native Russian, got through that time.Georgiy Vladimirovich Yasov

Not all Russia was persecuted. I was 13 when Stalin died. On that scary solemn, mournful day we, schoolchildren, sitting in the classroom, listened to our literature teacher who brought us that news. Black shawl on her shoulders, motionlessly piercing at the window, crying with uncontrollable tears she said: “Stalin died. As if our own father died. What to do next?” Touched by grief and compassion we followed her suit.

Everybody knows the following Russia’s history. No need to repeat.

Labor camps, this thought is still bothering us till now, does not allow us to sleep quietly at nights, especially when it touched you personally or your family members.

This is Lidiya. On the photos one can see her and her father to the left. To the right is the photo of her Grandfather. Do you see how they look alike, genes mean a lot passing from generation to generation not only looks, facial features and build-ups, but also the intellectuality.

1. Lida, what happened to your Grandfather Yasov, Georgiy Vladimirovich? On the back of his photo are very moving word addressing to his wife “To my Golden soul”. Isn’t it wonderful itself? Tell us about him a little bit.                                                                                                                                                                                                         Georgiy Vladimirovich Yasov portrait (back inscription)

2. He was an engineer by profession, having graduated from Moscow Technical Institute with a Master’s Degree signed by the Russian Czar Nicholas the Second. His career as a mechanical engineer went by close with the performing activities. So, he remembered many famous artists and actors of Moscow theatres. My Grandpa was befriended with many Russian poets and singers, among whom was Serge Tolstoy, son of the great thinker Leo Tolstoy, who gave him as a present his father’s portrait ( as a valuable heirloom which is kept in our family). Look at the photo of this portrait to the right.

1. Oh, yes, Lidochka, your Grandpa was an extraordinary person, gifted with lots of talents. How was his life after the Revolution?

TolstoyonAmbercanvas2. He hoped that the Revolution will change the world and never thought to leave Russia. Like all liberals of that time he talked openly expressing his ideas. This naive attitude pushed him to jail in 1937. He was condemned as an enemy of the nation by law article 58.

1. How long did he stay in prison?

2. 2 years. After he came back and started to work as an engineer at the factory near Moscow.

1. What happened next?

2. At Stalin’s time then the campaign began to buy the Government’s bonds, promising to get some gaining per cent in return. It was voluntarily-mandatory. Many workers and engineers suffered tremendously from hunger and poverty; so the campaign took away from them and their families, children the last hope to survive. He spoke out. The result – he was imprisoned for the second time. After 3 years my Grandpa was released, found another job.

1. What was the social-political situation at that Stalin Time?

2. Thousands of Russian educated people were leaving the country.

1. And what about Georgiy Vladimirovich?

2. Now the KGB started to chase him, they asked him to write reports on his fellow-workers. He refused. The KGB punished him severely: taking away his apartment, job and allowed him to reside on 101 km from Moscow. He chose small town Serpukhov, near Yasnaya Polyana where he died in 1962.

1. How old were you then, Lida?

2. 12.

1. Do you remember your Grandpa?

Music and video dedicated to those who were in GULAG

2. Definitely. He was my beloved. and still is now.

I am looking for the rehabilitation of his name. The times were changed in Russia. The society “Memorial” will help when I appeal.

1. It is really a difficult task for you, Lida, but Orlando Figes did his job with the dedication to his mother, and you will do the same with the dedication to your Grandfather. Actually what can be better than reminiscence of your wonderful relationship with your Grandfather and then father? Yet three of you look alike, intelligent and beautiful.

Good luck to you, dear Lidochka!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.