BEAUTY IN HELL: CULTURE IN THE GULAG
Staff and Visitors
The first Commander of the Solovki Camp was Aleksandr Nogtev, a man remembered in prisoners' memoirs as a cruel person. His right-hand man, but also rival, was Fedor Eikhmans. Although he was involved in some of the crimes, Eikhmans sheltered the intellectuals at the SLON and was responsible for a number of the cultural initiatives which indirectly saved the lives of many prisoners.
Another key figure was Naftalii Frenkel', who arrived at Solovki as a prisoner and created most of the theories about the exploitation of forced labour that would be implemented throughout the USSR.
The camp received a few visits, mainly from writers, journalists, prominent politicians and foreign delegations. The most important of all visits was that by the famous novelist Maksim Gor'kii, who visited the Solovki in 1929. Greeted as a saviour by the prisoners, he instead praised the Soviet state for the creation of the camp.