Item #331 [RADIO PRISON]


Item #331

Hand-made congratulatory charter. [Leningrad: 1st correctional labor colony, 1933]. 45x30 cm. Hand-written, watercolor.

The charter was made by the prisoners of LFZITK #1 on the 16th anniversary of the Revolution. In the colony there was a radio workshop presumably consisting of engineers and workers of the radio industry. In this ‘sharashka’ they made radio equipment. We don’t know the number of people involved, but there are 19 signatures at the bottom of the charter, some of the names can be identified: Gusev, Nilov, Dvornikov, Panov, Andreev, Glazdorev, Samsonov.

The note in pencil says that the charter’s design made by the prisoners as well. The monogram ‘B.N.’ stands in the right bottom corner. The charter gives us the opportunity to glimpse into life of prisoners of Stalin era pre-1937. In the text signed by the chairperson of the group some bizarre inconsistencies can be noticed. It was addressed to Georgy Borisovich Metlin who was managing the group, but his status was not mentioned. He’s been congratulated with the anniversary of the Revolution, but addressed as ‘gospodin’ instead of ‘tovarishch’ - the address, that was heavily associated with the pre-Revolutionary bourgeoisie. In the second paragraph prisoners wished that under Metlin’s guidance they could provide the radio devices for the Soviet Union to help cultural building of the socialism.

The year of 1933 could be considered the year when Soviet radio started: although ‘Radioperedacha’ was broadcasting newspaper articles starting from 1924, only in 1933 the all-Union radio-channel Radio-1 was created in Moscow. It is possible that the radio prisoners of LFZITK #1 was creating the equipment for that occasion.


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