Keep Forever

Keep Forever

by Aleksandr Sokolenko (, Alex Lane

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Keep Forever by Aleksandr Sokolenko (

In the freezing nights of a labor camp, fifty prisoners "settle in like herring in a barrel, tightly nuzzled next to each other, and someone among them would cover the rest with clothing". And then the night-time storyteller begins his tale.
Aleksandr Sokolenko's four true stories of life in the Soviet camps detail a world of baffling catch-22s, but also of intense community. From farm work to timber-driving, wrestling marmots to runaway brides, the daily reality captivates.
Vivid characters fill the pages: the aged merchant Semyonov's rich life history and wry acceptance ("At least here, they can't arrest you"); the thief-king who tries to break free from his followers; the high-society orphan who turns barbering into an art; and the inept, vicious Captain Ivanov. Stepping back to narrate their stories as well as his own, Sokolenko offers us a broader picture of the USSR and its history, as lived by his fellow inmates.
The human suffering is blunt and clear - scurvy, starvations, injustice, drownings - but what lingers is a sense of humans' capacity for kindness and boundless talents.
Keep Forever, they stamped on his prison files, and Keep Forever is what we must do with these stories.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940152330533
Publisher: FEHT Inc
Publication date: 09/01/2015
Sold by: Smashwords
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 316 KB

About the Author

Aleksandr Konstantinovich Sokolenko was born September 11, 1907 in the village of Ovoshchi, in Stavropol Gubernia. In his youth, he worked on a farm, helping his grandfather, who owned a large farmstead that produced wheat. He was graduated from the Rostov Pedagogical Institute. For some time (in 1941), he worked at the Semipalatinsk Pedagogical Institute, where he headed the Russian language department and wrote a dissertation on esthetics in literature. In 1944, upon arriving in Shakhty, Rostov Oblast, he was arrested and sentenced to serve a 7-year sentence (under article 58–10, for so-called «anti-Soviet propaganda»). He was exonerated in 1956. Camp living conditions experienced by A. K. Sokolenko varied a great deal. He performed hard labor on a timber drive down mountain rivers; he also worked as the chief agronomist or manager of a production detachment in a large agricultural camp. While the timber drive along the Chilik river was actually absolute hell, the conditions at the agricultural camp in northern Kazakhstan were fully tolerable. After his release in 1951 and to the end of his life in 1970, A. K. Sokolenko lived in the exiles' village of Issyk, in Alma-Ata Oblast, and taught school to young workers. Besides his principal occupation, he studied the history of the Issyk village and authored a small volume on the subject. When A. K. Sokolenko understood that he was terminally ill, he wrote four sketches about his tenure in the camps, «Order of the Red Banner,» «The Ordeal,» «Captain Ivanov's Crime,» and «Encounter on the Island of Tears.» These are portrait-like sketches. Only the last of these has been previously published in the 1989 issue of Yenisey magazine. _____________________ Александр Константинович Соколенко родился 11 сентября 1907 года в селе Овощи Ставропольской губернии. Подростком он работал на хуторе, помогая деду, владельцу крупного хозяйства, поставлявшего пшеницу. Окончил Ростовский пединститут. Работал учителем русского языка и литературы в средних школах. Некоторое время (в 1941 г.) заведовал кафедрой русского языка в Семипалатинском пединституте, писал диссертацию об эстетике в литературе. В 1944 году, при переезде в г. Шахты Ростовской области, был арестован и осужден на семь лет (статья 58–10: так называемая «антисоветская пропаганда»), в 1956 году реабилитирован. Условия содержания в лагерях для А. К. Соколенко складывались очень неравномерно. То каторжные работы на сплаве леса по горным рекам, то работа главным агрономом или начальником производственной части в большом сельскохозяйственном лагере. Если на сплаве леса по реке Чилик действительно был сущий ад, то условия в сельскохозяйственном лагере на севере Казахстана были вполне сносные. После освобождения и до конца жизни (с 1951 по 1970) А. К. Соколенко жил в станице Иссык Алматинской области и преподавал в школе рабочей молодежи. Помимо основной работы он изучал историю станицы Иссык и написал об этом небольшую книгу. Когда А. К. Соколенко понял, что неизлечимо болен, он написал четыре очерка о пребывании в лагерях: «Орден Красного Знамени», «Экзамен», «Преступление капитана Иванова» и «Встреча на Острове слез». Это очерки-портреты. Только последний из них опубликован в журнале «Енисей» за 1989 год.

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