Stalin’s Meteorologist: One Man’s Untold Story of Love, Life and Death


Alexei is the highly respected head of the Soviet Union’s meteorology department. He is also a loving family man, devoted to his wife and his 4-year-old daughter Eleonora. But one fateful morning in 1934, less than a year after being hailed by Stalin as a national hero, he is suddenly arrested and exiled to a gulag. With thousands of other political prisoners, he spends his remaining years on an island in the frozen north, under vast skies and surrounded by water that was, for more than 6 months of the year, a sheet of motionless ice. Olivier Rolin masterfully pieces together Alexei’s story and his eventual horrifying fate, drawing on an archive of letters and beautiful drawings of the natural world which Alexei sent home to his family.

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Shortlisted for the Pushkin House Russian Book Prize 2018

The beautifully illustrated, heartbreaking story of an innocent man in a Soviet gulag, told for the first time in English.

One fateful day in 1934, a husband arranged to meet his wife under the colonnade of the Bolshoi theatre. As she waited for him in vain, he was only a few hundred metres away, in a cell in the notorious Lubyanka prison.

Less than a year before, Alexey Wangenheim – a celebrated meteorologist – had been hailed by Stalin as a national hero. But following his sudden arrest, he was exiled to a gulag, forced to spend his remaining years on an island in the frozen north, along with thousands of other political prisoners.

Stalin’s Meteorologist is the thrilling and deeply moving account of an innocent man caught up in the brutality of Soviet paranoia. It’s a timely reminder of the human consequences of political extremism.

Additional information

Weight 0.181 kg
Dimensions 19.8 × 12.9 × 1.3 cm






181 , 16 unnumbered of plates




365.45092 (edition:23)


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