It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare. — Edmund Burke

Escape from the Soviets - T. Tchernavin

This book was written by the wife of a scientist who was imprisoned by the Soviet government. The first part of the book tells of her ordeal as both she and her husband are arrested, interrogated, and imprisoned, for no apparent reason. The second part tells of her daring escape with her husband and son from a Soviet prison camp north of the Arctic circle through the desolate wilderness of Northern Russia. It is a deeply moving, personal, and frightening account of a brutal, senseless, and utterly tyrannical government.

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Publishers’ Note

We are unable to reproduce photographs of the author or her husband as they fear that this might enable the OGPU agents in Finland to trace them.


This book is about myself, for I cannot write of other people without exposing them to the danger of imprisonment and exile; but my life is typical of the lives of thousands of educated women in U.S.S.R.

We have all of us spent years in study in order to acquire knowledge necessary not only to ourselves but to our country which we were eager to serve. None of us were hostile to the Revolution, and many devoted themselves with enthusiasm to work for the new regime. But this did not save us either from famine, when we had no food to give our children, or from prison and exile.

If technical experts who created all that may be truly called "achievements of the Revolution" have been condemned by the Soviet Government as "wreckers" it was but natural that the "wreckers’ wives" should suffer too. To wipe out the intellectuals as a class it was necessary to get hold not only of the men but of the women as well, and, incidentally, of their children.

The campaign of terrorism which began three years ago is not over yet. I do not know who may survive it; but for the sake of friends who are still alive and of the dear ones killed by the OGPU, I want to tell the sad truth about our life in Soviet Russia.

Finland, 1933
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