Getman Painting - Execution by Mosquitoes

Getman Painting - Execution by Mosquitoes Civil Rights Social Studies Visual Arts Disasters

Mosquitoes can be pesty, and they can even spread diseases (like malaria and dengue fever).  But we rarely think of mosquitoes as a method to execute anyone.

Nikolai Getman created this painting to illustrate how prisoners in forced-labor camps could be executed by mosquitoes.  The Global Museum on Communism - The Gulag.org - tells us more about the meaning of this scene:

The torture-death depicted here was known as komariki (little mosquitoes).

For even an insignificant misdeed, such as a harsh word to a guard, a prisoner could be stripped naked, hung crucifixion-style to a pine tree, and left to be fed upon by mosquitoes. Within thirty minutes to an hour he would be taken down. By that time, however, he would have lost so much blood that a slow and painful death was almost inevitable.

Such executions were carried out beyond the barbed wire, in full view of the other prisoners. In some camps, the victims of komariki were not hung on trees, but were thrown instead into pits.

Getman called the painting, depicted in this image, “Punishment by Mosquitoes.”

Media Credits

Image, described above, online courtesy Global Museum on Communism (The Gulag.org).  Original painting maintained by the Jamestown Foundation.


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"Getman Painting - Execution by Mosquitoes" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Jan 25, 2020.
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