Georgi Mikhailov Collection

Summary Information

Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries
Mikhailov, Georgi, 1945-2014
Georgi Mikhailov Collection
Date [inclusive]
undated, 1982-2005
0.5 Linear feet
Language of Materials
German. Japanese. Russian.
Correspondence, newspaper and magazine clippings regarding Georgi Mikhailov’s life, in particular his time spent as a political prisoner in Soviet labor camps in Northeastern Siberia from 1980-1983. The collection also contains photographs and negatives of Mikhailov and the labor camps.

Preferred Citation

[Item description, #:#], Georgi Mikhailov Collection. Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries.

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Georgi N. Mikhailov, born in 1945, was a physics professor at the  University of Leningrad. In 1975, he began hosting an open house in his apartment on Sundays which exhibited works of art which had been banned by the Soviet government. The Soviet police force, the K.G.B., searched his apartment in 1977 confiscated 5,000 slides of paintings, which resulted in his dismissal from the  University of Leningrad. In February 1979, Mikhailov was arrested and jailed in Leningrad. 300 of his paintings were destroyed at this time. The chapter of Amnesty International in Munich, Germany began advocating for his release. Mikhailov remained in prison in Leningrad for a year before being sent to three Soviet labor camps in Northeastern  Siberia between 1980 and 1983 as a political prisoner. He maintained a camera while in the camp and smuggled the negatives to his mother in Leningrad. After being released in 1983, Mikhailov was rearrested two years later and jailed in  Leningrad. After his release, he was granted a visa to immigrate to France, and married a French woman, Veronique, in 1985. In 1987, Mikhailov taught a summer course at the  Tolstoy Foundation in New York. Georgie passed away in Berlin, Germany on October 10, 2014. The collection was donated to Archives & Special Collections by  Lawrence Tobin, a personal friend of Mikhailov.

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Scope and Content

The collection contains correspondence, clippings, and photographic materials regarding Mikhailov's experiences in Soviet Labor camps in Northeast Siberia from 1980-1983. The newspaper and magazine clippings are mostly from 1987, which corresponded with an article in the New York Times regarding Mikhailov’s photographs and labor camp experiences.

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Series I: Correspondence, Clippings, and Photographic Materials (1982-1987, undated) consists of correspondence in Russian, newspaper and magazine clippings in English, German, Japanese, and Russian, as well as black and white photographs, color photographs, and negatives.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

 Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries July 2004

University of Connecticut Libraries
405 Babbidge Road Unit 1205
Storrs, Connecticut, 06269-1205

Revision Description

 labeling of Russian translations of photographs in accession 2012.0109. May 2013


The collection is open and available for research.

Restrictions on Use

Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from both the University of Connecticut Libraries and the owner(s) of the copyright.

Acquisition Information

The Georgi Mikhailov Collection was donated in 1988 by Lawrence and Elizabeth Tobin in memory of  Irina Kirk. Additions to the collection were received in 1989, 1991, and 1993.

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Related Materials

Related Material

Archives & Special Collections has a substantial collection of materials pertaining to human rights, as well as a large collection of Communist newspapers and publications. For detailed information on these collections please contact the curator or ask at the Reading Room desk.

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Controlled Access Headings


  • Clippings (information artifacts).
  • Correspondence
  • Negatives (photographic)
  • Photographs

Geographic Name(s)

  • Soviet Union

Personal Name(s)

  • Tobin, Lawrence


  • Labor camps
  • Political prisoners

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Collection Inventory

Correspondence, Russian, undated 

Language of Materials

    Box Folder
Text   1 1

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Fonds Der Freien Russichen Gegenwartskunst, 1987, 2005 

    Box Folder
Text   1 2

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Newspaper and Periodical Clippings, English, 1987 

Language of Materials

    Box Folder
Text   1 3

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Newspaper and Periodical Clippings, German, 1987 

Language of Materials

    Box Folder
Text   1 4

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Newspaper and Periodical Clippings, Japanese, undated 

Language of Materials

    Box Folder
Text   1 5

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Newspaper and Periodical Clippings, Russian, undated 

Language of Materials

    Box Folder
Text   1 6

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Photographs, Black and White, undated 

    Box Folder
Graphic materials   1 7

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Photographs, Color, undated (1982-1983] 

    Box Folder
Graphic materials   1 8

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Photographs, Georgi Mikhailov, undated [1982-1983] 

    Box Folder
Graphic materials   1 9

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Photographs, Negatives, undated [1982-1983] 

    Box Folder
Graphic materials   1 10

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Digital Print Photographs undated, 1987-2005 

Language of Materials

Translations of Russian photo captions into English written by David Lowe, Digital Preservations Librarian.
    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 11

Scope and Content Note

[Subjects include: 15 8 x 10 B&W and sepia (originals possibly color) photographic prints; Life article, 1987; Photocopy of  New York Times article 1987; 2 publications (Russian/German) of exhibition.]

001: This is a timber exchange and me with my brigade of criminals. 

Language of Materials


002: This is when our guards rolled up to us for an inspection. 

003: My brigade after a work day. 

004: This is the shift of my brigade of lumberjacks. To the left is the Captain, who brought the brigade to the site "Osadochnyi" (The Settlement). 

005: A shot for the ages: Convicts eating caviar by the spoonful, because there was nothing else to eat. No salt or bread either. 

006: My brigade with our "balok" (Siberian mobile dwelling) in the background. 

007: The construction of the extension to the "balok" (Siberian mobile dwelling) for me personally. 

008: Installing the runners for carrying the timber load to its shipment. This photo was on the front page of the New York Times. 

009: Timber exchange. Me with my brigade. June 1981. 1981 

010: Here is my main job - I had to loop 5-6 branches with a metal cable which the bulldozer would then drag to the timber exchange. 

011: My brigade is building a "balok," that is, a house in which we will have to live at "Osadochnyi" (The Settlement), as we call the clearcut place (101 km. from... Ararat). It's incredible, but a large "balok" could be built in less than a 24-hour day. 

012: (clockwise from top left) Loading the timber exchange. Shipping the timber exchange. Me driving the "Kirovets," nicknamed the "Squid." My brigade at the timber exchange. 

013: This is how we handled a shipment of "balans" (logs), that is, the six-meter timbers. [You had to] tie the "pokata" (runners) well, that is the rails for dragging the logs during shipping. 

014: Our guards came to the timber cutting site 1-2 times per year in search…of supplies of caviar, which the convicts would bury in moss in the frozen ground. All the rest of the time we were without guards and we fed ourselves by hunting and fishing. (This was categorically forbidden and they returned our brigade to the Zone [the prison camp]. 

015: Me with my brigade of forest fellers--all with serious criminal offenses (murder, robbery). 

016: "Ararat" 1983, June. Rock workshop. 1983 

017: Swimming in the river Yama, May 1982. 1982 

018: Ararat. 1983, August. Building the restricted area. The "boss" is the head of the camp, Nikolai Mikhailovich Lomakin, who tried to help me in every way, for which he was rewarded... with two stars (incomplete performance of service). Retired in St. Petersburg. Worked for me as deputy director of management section. (The Boss is outlined on back of photograph, figure on the far right.) 1983 

019: These are the Kolyma "roads," that is, there were no roads, and passage was made possible by the mountain streams. Our all-terrain vehicle damaged its caterpillar track, could move no further, and we spent 4 hours repairing the track in icy water. 

020: "Ararat" prison camp. 1982. Smoke break. 1983 

021: This is how larch trees are felled on the Kolyma [River]. 

022: The Kolyma [River] is of striking beauty. 6 September 822 [sic, 1982?]. 

023: This is one of the most frightening events on the Kolyma [River]: frazil ice. This is when the streams from the mountains turn into pipes of ice. Due to the frost, these pipes get thinner and thinner, which causes a blockage of these vessels, while the water pressure remains constant. An explosion then takes place, and the water pours out along the top surface, which forms a multitude... of branches which are boiling hot (+2° C) compared to the ice (-50° C), and the frost right then seizes the surface of the stream, and the water is once again in a pipe, so a driver doesn't know where that stream goes, and tractors or cars fall through the thin, newly formed layer of ice. This means destruction for the car, since it is almost impossible to rescue it until summer. 

024: Beauties of the Kolyma region. 

025: Winter 1982. Before loading. T= -44° C. 1982 

026: Osadochnyi (The Settlement)--101 km from Ararat 1982-1983. Winter loading of the "balans" (logs) onto the timber hauler. -43° C. 

027: Here are the kinds of "balans" (logs) that we had to carry. Because of this I have 7 herniated discs in my spine. 

028: Lawrence Tobin (UConn '82) and George Mikhailov, 1987. 1987 

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