In 1946, after five years as a prisoner of war - first as a Soviet Union in Nazi concentration camps, then as a deportee (falsely accused of treason) in Russia’s Arctic Gulag - 29-years-old Lev Miscenko unexpectedly received a letter from Sveta, the sweetheart he had hardly dared hope was still alive. Amazingly, over the next eight years the lovers managed to exchange more than 1200 letters, and even to smuggle Sveta herself into the camp for secret meetings. Their recently discovered correspondence is the only known real-time record of life in Stalin’s Gulag, unmediated and almost uncensored. In Just send me word the historian Orlando Figes took on the task of deciphering and editing it, discovering an impressive record not only of daily "routine" inside a Soviet labour camp, but also (through Sveta’s letters) a rare sense of Moscow everyday life in the hardest times of post-war Soviet reconstruction.
Keywords: Soviet Union, Stalinism, Gulag, Private Correspondence