Drawings from the Gulag consists of 130 drawings by Danzig Baldaev describing the history, horror and peculiarities of the Gulag system from its inception in 1918. Baldaev’s father, a respected ethnographer, taught him techniques to record the tattoos of criminals in St Petersburg’s notorious Kresty prison, where he worked as a guard. He was reported to the KGB who unexpectedly supported his work, allowing him the opportunity to travel across the former USSR.Witnessing scenes of everyday life in the Gulag, he chronicled this previously closed world from both sides of the wire. With every vignette, Baldaev brings the characters he depicts to vivid life: from the lowest zek (inmate) to the most violent tattooed vor (thief), all the practices and inhabitants of the Gulag system are depicted here in incredible, and often shocking, detail. In documenting the attitude of the authorities to those imprisoned, and the transformation of those citizens into survivors or victims of the Gulag system, this ‘graphic novel’ vividly depicts methods of torture and mass murder undertaken by the administration, as well as the atrocities committed by criminals on their fellow inmates.