Former People

Episodes

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0120121112

Late 19th century. Russia races towards industrialisation, and the people want change.

From the last days of the monarchy to the Red Terror of the Bolshevik Revolution and then Stalin's 'Operation Former People', the hundreds of thousands of families who formed the Russian nobility were subjected to a series of bloodthirsty purges.

This disparate group of people ranged from the entrenched monarchists of the old tsarist regime to the impoverished rural nobility who struggled to make a living out of their lands.

Some of these nobles were in favour of change and supported the revolution but very few families escaped without at least one member experiencing imprisonment, exile, forced labour or execution. Palaces were looted and estates burned as the enemies of the new Soviet state were made to pay over and over for their centuries of glittering privilege.

Drawing on meticulous research including letters and diaries from the period Douglas Smith brings to life the tiny human details of this extraordinary and tumultuous time.

Episode 1 of 5:

In the late 19th century, Russia was still very much a peasant and a feudal society ruled over by the decrees of one man. But this was a country racing towards industrialisation and the people's clamour for change could not be ignored.

Read by Robert Powell

Abridged and produced by Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

0220121113

The dying days of the tsarist empire see the aristocracy partying their way into history.

From the last days of the monarchy to the Red Terror of the Bolshevik Revolution and then Stalin's 'Operation Former People' the hundreds of thousands of families who formed the Russian nobility were subjected to a series of bloodthirsty purges.

This disparate group of people ranged from the entrenched monarchists of the old Tsarist regime to the impoverished rural nobility who struggled to make a living out of their lands.

Some of these nobles were in favour of change and supported the revolution but very few families escaped without at least one member experiencing imprisonment, exile, forced labour or execution. Palaces were looted and estates burned as the enemies of the new soviet state were made to pay over and over for their centuries of glittering privilege.

Drawing on meticulous research including letters and diaries from the period Douglas Smith brings to life the tiny human details of this extraordinary and tumultuous time.

Episode 2 of 5

The dying days of the Tsarist Empire were both glittering and desperate as the aristocracy partied their way into history, the workers demanded a fair wage and violence erupted both at home and abroad.

Read by Robert Powell

Abridged and produced by Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

0320121114

In the Bolshevik coup, the rich, landowners and those in authority became 'former people'.

From the last days of the monarchy to the Red Terror of the Bolshevik Revolution and then Stalin's 'Operation Former People' the hundreds of thousands of families who formed the Russian nobility were subjected to a series of bloodthirsty purges.

This disparate group of people ranged from the entrenched monarchists of the old Tsarist regime to the impoverished rural nobility who struggled to make a living out of their lands. Some of these nobles were in favour of change and supported the revolution but very few families escaped without at least one member experiencing imprisonment, exile, forced labour or execution.

Palaces were looted and estates burned as the enemies of the new soviet state were made to pay over and over for their centuries of glittering privilege.

Drawing on meticulous research including letters and diaries from the period Douglas Smith brings to life the tiny human details of this extraordinary and tumultuous time.

Episode 3 of 5

The Bolshevik coup created whole new categories of person - all those who has previously been members of the rich classes, owned land or held positions of authority in the imperial regime became 'former people' and were thus designated as enemies.

Read by Robert Powell

Abridged and produced by Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

0420121115

From the last days of the monarchy to the Red Terror of the Bolshevik Revolution and then Stalin's 'Operation Former People' the hundreds of thousands of families who formed the Russian nobility were subjected to a series of bloodthirsty purges.

This disparate group of people ranged from the entrenched monarchists of the old Tsarist regime to the impoverished rural nobility who struggled to make a living out of their lands. Some of these nobles were in favour of change and supported the revolution but very few families escaped without at least one member experiencing imprisonment, exile, forced labour or execution. Palaces were looted and estates burned as the enemies of the new Soviet state were made to pay over and over for their centuries of glittering privilege.

Drawing on meticulous research including letters and diaries from the period Douglas Smith brings to life the tiny human details of this extraordinary and tumultuous time.

Episode 4 of 5

Jewels were hidden and fur coats sold as the nobility learned that nothing could ever be taken for granted again. Hundreds of thousands of former people were imprisoned and executed, many others fled the homeland.

Read by Robert Powell

Abridged and produced by Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

0420121115

Hundreds of thousands of former people were imprisoned and executed, many others fled.

From the last days of the monarchy to the Red Terror of the Bolshevik Revolution and then Stalin's 'Operation Former People' the hundreds of thousands of families who formed the Russian nobility were subjected to a series of bloodthirsty purges.

This disparate group of people ranged from the entrenched monarchists of the old Tsarist regime to the impoverished rural nobility who struggled to make a living out of their lands. Some of these nobles were in favour of change and supported the revolution but very few families escaped without at least one member experiencing imprisonment, exile, forced labour or execution. Palaces were looted and estates burned as the enemies of the new Soviet state were made to pay over and over for their centuries of glittering privilege.

Drawing on meticulous research including letters and diaries from the period Douglas Smith brings to life the tiny human details of this extraordinary and tumultuous time.

Episode 4 of 5

Jewels were hidden and fur coats sold as the nobility learned that nothing could ever be taken for granted again. Hundreds of thousands of former people were imprisoned and executed, many others fled the homeland.

Read by Robert Powell

Abridged and produced by Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

05 LAST20121116

The death of Lenin and rise of Stalin saw a fuelling of the savage quest for class enemies

From the last days of the monarchy to the Red Terror of the Bolshevik Revolution and then Stalin's 'Operation Former People' the hundreds of thousands of families who formed the Russian nobility were subjected to a series of bloodthirsty purges.

This disparate group of people ranged from the entrenched monarchists of the old Tsarist regime to the impoverished rural nobility who struggled to make a living out of their lands.

Some of these nobles were in favour of change and supported the revolution but very few families escaped without at least one member experiencing imprisonment, exile, forced labour or execution. Palaces were looted and estates burned as the enemies of the new soviet state were made to pay over and over for their centuries of glittering privilege.

Drawing on meticulous research including letters and diaries from the period Douglas Smith brings to life the tiny human details of this extraordinary and tumultuous time.

Episode 5 of 5

With the death of Lenin and Stalin's assumption of power, a new kind of paranoia fuelled the savage quest for 'class enemies'. Reprisals against counter-revolutionaries led to the brutality of 'Operation Former People'.

Read by Robert Powell

Abridged and produced by Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.