Photo of the Day

Maria Tchebotareva. Trying to feed her four hungry children during the massive 1932-1933 famine, the peasant mother allegedly stole three pounds of rye from her former field? confiscated by the state as part of collectivization. Soviet authorities sentenced her to ten years in the Gulag. When her sentence expired in 1943, it was arbitrarily extended until the end of the war in 1945. After her release, she was required to live in exile near her Gulag camp north of the Arctic Circle, and she was not able to return home until 1956, after the death of Stalin. Maria Tchebotareva never found her children after her release. Courtesy of the Gulag Museum at Perm-36.


Warning, some people may find this story Disturbing.

Have you ever been late to work?

In the Stalin era, a person who arrived late to work three times could be sent to the Gulag for three years.

Have you ever told a joke about a government official?

In the Stalin era, many were sent to the Gulag for up to 25 years for telling an innocent joke about a Communist Party official.

If your family was starving, would you take a few potatoes left in a field after harvest?

In the Stalin era, a person could be sent to the Gulag for up to ten years for such petty theft.

The transportation methods to the Gulags were often even more disturbing and painful than the camps themselves. Most long journeys began at the railroad station. However, prisoners were not loaded onto trains at the station in full public view; they were loaded at sidings down the track, away from public glare. It was done secretively – just as the process of arrest late at night. It was usual for up to sixty or more people to be crammed into one carriage, which was constructed from wooden planks and had a few rows of horizontal boards to sleep on. There was no illumination, and rats and vermin abounded. No matter the weather, the captives were only allowed to wear the clothes they were arrested in.

?The night search, the most degrading procedure, was frequently repeated. ?Get up! Get undressed! Hands up! Out into the hall! Line up against the wall.? Naked we were especially frightened. ?Among the blind, the one-eyed is king,? and next to them I was still a hero?for the time being. Our hair was undone. What were they looking for? What more could they take away from us? There was something, however: they pulled out all the ties that had been holding up the nuns’ skirts and our underwear.?

Conditions in the camps, for those who survived the trip, were extremely harsh. Prisoners received insufficient clothing and inadequate food rations which made it difficult to endure the severe weather and the long working hours. As a result, the death rate from exhaustion and disease in the camps was enormously high.

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Hostile in your face racism


Oh those ex-All Blacks always get a free pass

The NZ Herald reports:

A police officer has been suspended from duty after he was charged alongside a former All Black over a violent attack on a taxi.

The?Herald?can reveal that former All Black loose forward Sione Lauaki, 32, and Constable Takao Cocker, 31, both appeared in the Auckland District Court after the alleged incident on December 13.

Police allege the pair intentionally damaged a taxi about 3.30am at Greenwoods Corner, Epsom.

Greenwoods Corner? At 3:30 AM? Greenwoods corner is a sleepy little suburban village with barely a restaurant and certainly no bars open tot hat time of the night. How can an All black and a copper be in Greenwoods Corner at 3:30 AM clearly tanked so as to have na altercation with ?taxi driver.

What is going on at 3:30 AM at Greenwoods Corner, Epsom?

Google Street View

Google Street View

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And you, Sir, are you waiting to receive my limp penis?


Words fail me

Will he stay on? The problem with Michael Williams

"Hey you, fetch me some vodka"

“Hey you, fetch me some vodka”

There are a number of issues that stem from the Herald revelations into?Michael Williams’ problems.

The first thing is that drinking and driving is a serious offence, one that shows significant misjudgment by an individual, and is often a window into someone’s wider health problems. It is not the sort of crime that automatically deserves sacking, though for many employees, it is specified in their contract that a DIC conviction means a job dismissal.

The second thing is that the resisting arrest charge is a VERY serious charge, and if proven, is completely incompatible with someone elected to public office and who is expected to be a pillar of the community. A charge like this should mean the person should automatically stand down from their political responsibilities until either found innocent or guilty. ? Read more »

Are lawyers dodgier than Politicians, Ctd

Politicians generally are pretty dodgy but there is building evidence that lawyers are dodgier than them:

A Hawke’s Bay lawyer has been charged with disorderly behaviour, resisting arrest and performing an indecent act to insult a police officer.

The woman, who cannot be named, is alleged to have committed the offences on New Year’s Eve on Breakwater Road in Napier.

The woman was to have appeared on the criminal list in Napier District Court this morning but her appearance was adjourned on the papers by a registrar.

She will appear before Judge Lindsay Moore next week.