Manuscript Collection MS COLL 00275A 2B Annex - Thomas Lahusen Collection of Vasilii Azhaev Materials

Identity area

Reference code

MS COLL 00275A 2B Annex


Thomas Lahusen Collection of Vasilii Azhaev Materials


  • 1935-1944 (Creation)

Level of description

Manuscript Collection

Extent and medium

10 boxes (1.5 metres)

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Vasilii Nikolaevich Azhaev (1915-1968) was born in the village of Sotskoye, Moscow province, in 1915. Arrested in 1934 for ‘counter-revolutionary activities,’ Azhaev was sentenced to four years as a prisoner in the Corrective Labour Camp of the Baikal-Amur Main Line of the People’s Commissariat of Internal affairs (BAMLAG NKVD) in Svobodnyi, in the Far East. Following his early release in March 1937, Azhaev remained in the camp as a ‘free labourer.’ He also contributed to and worked as a chief editor of various camp publications. These did not circulate beyond the camp’s limits. There he completed his novel Daleko ot Moskvy [Far from Moscow], which won the Stalin Prize for literature in 1949. The novel depicted construction of a pipeline in the Far East. He died in 1968 in Moscow.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Gift of Professor Thomas Lahusen, Department of History, University of Toronto, 2016.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Thomas Lahusen collection of Vasilii Azhaev’s materials includes mostly photocopies of drafts of manuscripts, articles, readers’ conferences reports, notebooks, photographs, personal correspondence as well as official documentation pertaining to Azhaev’s imprisonment and further employment in the Corrective Labor Camp of the Baikal-Amur Main Line. The collection includes photocopies of periodicals produced and disseminated within Soviet labour camps. For the most part, the collection combines material from Azhaev’s personal archives with some documents from the State Archives of the Region of Khabarovsk. Thomas Lahusen collected and used these documents when writing his manuscript, How Life Writes the Book: Real Socialism and Socialist Realism in Stalin's Russia (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997). Most of the material are copies from Azhaev’s personal archive that were given to Thomas Lahusen by Irina Liubimova-Azhaeva in 1992.

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Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Material may be requested in person at the Fisher Library Reference Desk, or in advance using our online stack retrieval request form:

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • Russian

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Description control area

Description identifier


Institution identifier

Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto

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Dates of creation revision deletion




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