Gluttons for punishment

June 21, 2012

Polly Jones, in her insightful review of Orlando Figes' Just Send Me Word: A True Story of Love and Survival in the Gulag (Books, 14 June), calls for further explanation of why some victims of Stalinist repression retained "their belief in Soviet ideas".

In Keeping Faith with the Party: Communist Believers Return from the Gulag, a book published in March, Nanci Adler addresses this very question. Based on interviews and scrupulous documentation, she provides four overlapping social and psychological hypotheses to account for why some Gulag survivors not only retained their beliefs but after release actually sought to rejoin the Communist Party.

R.E. Rawles, UCL honorary research fellow in psychology, University College London

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