In Sweet Darusya, a police officer brings Ivan to a party Director on a laundry list of complaints, one of which was that he was living in the village without a proper passport. I'm a little confused about that, though. Why was that a problem?

Also, the book doesn't note the Director being overly disturbed by the allegation. Why might that be? Would a local party official be inclined to care about such a violation?

1 Answer 1


The internal passport system was a vital tool for governing the population, because it identified the bearer and allowed him to be regulated. It was overtly stated that its purpose was

the removal of persons not engaged in industrial or other socially-useful work from towns and the cleansing of towns from hiding kulaks, criminals and other antisocial elements

Then, in any such practice, much depended on the rigor of the local officials. Some might severely require it, some might be lax, some might use it as a pretext to play favorites. A village where everyone knew each other would have little use for its identification value, in particular.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.