Dolinka, the KarLAG and its Repressed Artists



dolinkaThe approach to the little village of Dolinka (50 km from Karaganda) was ominous, it was overcast and foggy.  The asphalt roads could have been icy but thankfully they were not, just full of potholes and slush.  Most impressive about the little museum with its information about the KarLAG was that it used to be the hospital for political repressed victims in Dolinka.  A map prominently shown in the museum was the network of gulag systems in Kazakhstan is the size of France.  Kazakhstan is FOUR times the size of France so you know how invasive this imprisonment was to the Kazakh land and their people who often pitied those outcasts who were dumped in Dolinka from all parts of the U.S.S.R.prison-fence


Since I enjoy viewing artwork, I was struck by the HUGE canvas showing an image of Lenin at the table and Stalin pointing to a map of USSR electrification along with workers and soldiers.  No one knows the name of the artist of this @ 20 foot long by 7 foot high painting.  No doubt this artist of the karlag was trying to get back into the good graces of the elite in Moscow.  However, I’m wondering if it is the same artist who painted in 1991 the samovar on the decked out dining table in the stalovaya of the guest house where I stayed one night in Karaganda.  I wish I had written down the name of the artist, it was in the bottom left hand corner of the painting.samovar


Much talent and skill during the USSR times were wasted but our guide to the museum took us over to another technical building where they tested for breeding of different grains, corn or potatoes.  Famous agriculturalists were imprisoned but kept up their experiments in that building.  Damira said that her family would buy the Dolinka brand potatoes because it was of good quality. 


For now, I hate to think of all the poets, writers, artists and musicians (refer to the photos from yesterday’s blog) whose lives were destroyed over bad policy, bad governance that was meant to help people.  It did quite the opposite.  Stalin and Lenin’s system repressed millions of those they claimed as their own.

5 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    […] Dolinka, the KarLAG and its Repressed Artists « Kazakhnomad’s WeblogKazakhstan is FOUR times the size of France so you know how invasive this imprisonment was to the Kazakh land and their people who often pitied those outcasts who were dumped in Dolinka from all parts of the U.S.S.R. prison-fence … […]

  2. 2

    Aigerim said,

    Dear Kazakhnomad Lady , I am writing to you concerning the artist who painted the samovar in our stolovaya. When I entered the hostel I met our head doctor. She said that the author of this canvas was Shamshin Vilyamin Aleksandrovich. Unfortunately, he died last year. He was a member of USSR artists Union. And also she said that this masterpiece was specially made for our hostel, so she worked with him over draft.

  3. 3

    Kazakhnomad said,

    Aigerim, thanks for scouting out that information for me about the Samovar painting in the stalovaya. I think it is especially beautiful and I’m sorry that the artist died already, he must have MANY paintings gracing the living rooms of many homes around Karaganda. With a name like Shamshin Vilyamin Aleksandrovich, he must have been a native Russian, right? Not a Kazakh man. Also, I’m wondering if anyone has figured out who did the painting that is in the Dolinka Museum now that used to be in the House of Technics, the HUGE painting of Lenin and Stalin at the top of this blog.

  4. 4

    david said,

    Hi – just wondering if there is a website that gives the museum’s opening/closing hours? Thanks!

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