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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Tomorrow You Go Home: One Man's Harrowing Imprisonment in a Modern-Day Russian Gulag

Tomorrow You Go Home: One Man's Harrowing Imprisonment in a Modern-Day Russian Gulag

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Tig Hague

An English junior stock broker visiting Russia for a series of business meetings in 2003 is arrested at the Moscow airport with a small bit of hash he'd forgotten in a trouser pocket. Thus begins Hague's nearly two-year journey through a Russian penal … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Tig Hague
Publisher: Gotham
1 review about Tomorrow You Go Home: One Man's Harrowing...

Entering the nightmare of the Russian legal system...

  • Dec 20, 2008
Rating:
+3
So what happens when you enter a foreign country like Russia and find yourself in possession of trace amounts of drugs? Tig Hague found out the hard way and chronicled his experience in the book Tomorrow You Go Home: One Man's Harrowing Imprisonment in a Modern-Day Russian Gulag. No matter how bad you think a western justice system might be, you haven't seen "bad" until you're thrown into Russia's gulags, with no way out but to play the game by ever-changing rules.

Tig Hague was a businessman working at the finance firm Garban Icap in London. His job involved international travel, and on this particular trip he was landing in Moscow for a three day trip to meet with clients. He came from a stag party on the weekend, where some hash was available and used by the partygoers. Hague had no qualms against using the drug, and in fact had left a very small amount in his jeans wrapped in paper, barely enough for a single joint. But he forgot about it as he packed his suitcase, only to remember it at the worst possible time, as Russian custom agents were conducting a random check of passengers exiting the airport. Looking like a well-off British traveler, the Russian agent was actually looking for a bribe from Hague to just keep things moving. Tired and irritable from his trip, Hague decided he didn't want to play that game, which led to a retaliatory search of every item in his suitcase. The hash showed up, and now Hague was labeled a drug smuggler and placed into the Russian "legal" system. Little did he expect that it would take two years before he saw his freedom again.

While the embassy made all the right sounds about helping him out, they were really just working within the system to let things move to trial, hoping for an acquittal or minor fine. Hague kept trying to explain that he wasn't smuggling, and that this was really being blown out of proportion. By the time the case went to trial a couple of months later (with bail being denied during that time), the stated amount he was carrying was highly inflated, his confession of recreational hash use back home painted him as a major drug user, and he was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison. What follows is a two year nightmare of corrupt prison officials, horrid living conditions, illnesses that threatened his life, and emotional despair. The only thing that keeps him going is the undying love and efforts of his girlfriend (and future wife) Lucy, as she worked to keep pressure on the Russian legal system to release Hague.

Reading Tomorrow, you can feel the emotional turmoil that Hague went through as he realized that there was no one there to help him out. He was fortunate to be befriended by a number of prisoners along the way who taught him the rules of survival and helped him manage his own fate from inside the prisons. The most harrowing part of the story is when he's transferred to Zone 22, a prison camp in Mordovia that is as primitive and desolate as any gulag you've read about. But even in those brutal conditions, there was a code amongst the inmates that showed humanity when and where you'd least expect it.

It's somewhat hard not to think he brought some of this on himself by his initial actions. But even then, the punishment was very much out of proportion to the crime. Tomorrow You Go Home will leave an emotional mark on the reader. It'll also make you double-check everything you put in your luggage before you travel...

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