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Living Conditions and (Re)Defining Identity in the Gulag: a study based on autobiographical texts belonging to people from Bessarabia and Bucovina Deported to Kazakhstan (2016-2020)


This research explores living conditions in the Soviet Gulag, as they emerge from the memoirs and autobiographical texts of deportees from the former territories of the Romanian Kingdom to Kazakhstan. It focuses on recurring elements found in testimonies: the journey to the deportation sites; living conditions in exile (special settlements, housing arrangements); work performed by the deportees and their remuneration; the acquisition of food, clothes and consumer goods (available resources and supply strategies). I aim at clarifying how the new living conditions and social circumstances influenced the subjects’ socio–cultural values, their vision of the world and of themselves, and, conversely, in what way their prior identity helped them in their efforts to survive.

Keywords: memory, autobiographical narrative, identity, testimonies about the Communist era, mass deportations, living conditions

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