Tartu Conference on East European and Eurasian Studies

Film “Women of the Gulag”

Marianna YarovskayaMonday, 10 June 2019 at 20:15 at Jakobi 1, Tartu (cinema Elektriteater)


The documentary film Women of the Gulag tells the compelling and tragic stories of six women as last survivors of the Gulag. Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago largely tells of the men caught in Stalin’s camps and special settlements for ‘crimes against the state’. Women of the Gulag features six women in their eighties and nineties as they tell their stories while going about their daily lives in remote Urals villages, in break-away Sukhumi, or in Moscow suburbs. Their only hesitancy to speak out relates to sexual violence, about which
they would only hint. Sadly, three died shortly after their interviews.

Leena Kurvet-Käosaar

The film documentary is based on Stanford University scholar Paul Gregory’s book Women of the Gulag: Portraits of Five Remarkable Lives, which draws on the Soviet archives opened in the 1990s and on personal, handwritten and typed accounts.

The film is directed by Russian-American film-maker Marianna Yarovskaya of Mayfilms and produced by her and Paul Gregory. In 2019, it was shortlisted for the Oscars’ best documentary short subject award.



Book cover Women of gulagThe film is introduced by Ms Leena Kurvet-Käosaar, Associate Professor at the University of Tartu.

The film screening is part of the programme of the Fourth Annual Tartu Conference on Russian and East European Studies. It is generously supported by the U.S. Embassy in Estonia and the Tartu City Government.

The entrance to the screening is free, the film is in Russian with English subtitles.