Gulag ( , Russian: ГУЛАГ) was the government body responsible for administering prison camps across the former Soviet Union. The word is an acronym for Главное Управление Исправительно—Трудовых Лагерей и колоний, Glavnoye Upravleniye Ispravitelno-trudovykh Lagerey i kolonii, "The Chief Directorate [or Administration] of Corrective Labour Camps and Colonies" of the NKVD. Anne Applebaum, in her book Gulag: A History, explains:

It was the branch of the State Security that operated the penal system of forced labour camps and associated detention and transit camps and prisons. While these camps housed criminals of all types, the Gulag system has become primarily known as a place for political prisoners and as a mechanism for repressing political opposition to the Soviet state. Though it imprisoned millions, the name became familiar in the West only with the publication of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's 1973 The Gulag Archipelago, which likened the scattered camps to a chain of islands.
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Nikolai Getman Moving out.[1]
The word "Gulag" has also come to signify not only the administration of the concentration camps but also the system of Soviet slave labor itself, in all its forms and varieties: labor camps, punishment camps, criminal and political camps, women's camps, children's camps, transit camps., Even more broadly, "Gulag" has come to mean the Soviet repressive system itself, the set of procedures that prisoners once called the "meat-grinder": the arrests, the interrogations, the transport in unheated cattle cars, the forced labor, the destruction of families, the years spent in exile, the early and unnecessary deaths.[1]

Some authors refer to all prisons and camps throughout Soviet history (1917–91) as the Gulags. Also, the term's modern usage is often notably unrelated to the USSR: for example, in such expressions as "North Korea's gulag". Note that the original Russian acronym (ГУЛАГ, never in plural), described not a single camp, but the government department in charge of the entire camp system. The word was not often used in Russian — officially or colloquially — as the predominant term either for the system of labor camps or for the individual camps, which are usually referred to in Russian as simply "the camps" (лагеря, lagerya) or "the zone" (зона, zona, always singular).

The term "corrective labor camp" was suggested for official use by the politburo of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union session of July 27, 1929, as a replacement of the term concentration camp, commonly used until that time.

A colloquial term for a Soviet inmate was "zeka", "zek". In Russian, "inmate", "incarcerated" is "заключённый", zakliuchyonnyi, usually abbreviated to 'з/к' in paperwork, pronounced as 'зэка' (zeh-KA), gradually transformed into 'зэк' and to 'зек' (zek). The word is still in colloquial use. Originally the abbreviation stood for "zaklyuchyonny kanaloarmeyets" (заключённый каналоармеец), literally "incarcerated canal-army-man". The latter term coined in an analogy with the words "krasnoarmeyets", "member of the Red Army" or trudarmeyets (member of a labor army). The history of the term, attributed to Lazar Kogan, is described as follows. In 1932, when Anastas Mikoyan visited Belomorstroy (construction of the White Sea Baltic Canal, manned by one of the early major gulag camps), Kogan told him "Comrade Mikoyan, how shall we call them? (…) I thought up the word: "kanaloarmeyets". What do you think?" Mikoyan approved it. [2]

There were at least 476 separate camp complexes, each one comprising hundreds, even thousands of individual camps. It is estimated that there may have been 5-7 million people in these camps at any one time. In later years the camps also held victims of Stalin’s purges as well as World War II prisoners. It is possible that around 10% of prisoners died each year. Out of the 91,000 Germans captured alive after the Battle of Stalingrad, only 6,000 survived the Gulag and returned home.[3][4][5] Probably the worst of the camp complexes were the three built north of the Arctic circle at Kolyma, Norilsk and Vorkuta.[6][7] In all, perhaps more than 18 million people passed through the Gulag, with a further millions being deported and exiled to remote areas of the Soviet Union.[8][9]

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Entering Gulag (a leaf from Eufrosinia Kersnovskaya's notebook)


In addition to the most common category of camps that practiced hard physical labour and prisons of various sorts, other forms also existed.
  • Sharashka (шарашка, the goofing-off place) were in fact secret research laboratories, where the arrested and convicted scientists, some of them prominent, were anonymously developing new technologies, and also conducting basic research.
  • Psikhushka (психушка, the nut house), the forced medical treatment in psychiatric imprisonment was used, in lieu of camps, to isolate and break down political prisoners. This practice became much more common after the official dismantling of the Gulag system. See Vladimir Bukovsky, Pyotr Grigorenko.
  • Special camps or zones for children (Gulag jargon: "малолетки", maloletki, underaged), for disabled (in Spassk), and for mothers ("мамки", mamki) with babies.
  • Camps for "wives of traitors of Motherland" — there was a special category of repression: "Traitor of Motherland Family Member" (ЧСИР, член семьи изменника Родины: ČSIR, člyen sem'i izmennika Rodini).
Under the supervision of Lavrenty Beria who headed both NKVD and the Soviet Atom bomb program until his demise in 1953, thousands of zeks were used to mine uranium ore and prepare test facilities on Novaya Zemlya, Vaygach Island, Semipalatinsk, among other sites.


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Soviet poster of the 1920s: The GPU strikes the counter-revolutionary saboteur on the head
From 1918 camp-type detention facilities were set up, as a reformed analogy of the earlier system of penal labor (katorgas), operated in Siberia in Imperial Russia. The two main types were "Vechecka Special-purpose Camps" (особые лагеря ВЧК, osobiye lagerya VČK) and forced labor camps (лагеря принудительных работ, lagerya prinuditel'nikh radot). They were installed for various categories of people deemed dangerous for the state: for common criminals, for prisoners of the Russian Civil War, for officials accused of corruption, sabotage and embezzlement, various political enemies and dissidents, as well as former aristocrats, businessmen and large land owners.

The legal base and the guidance for the creation of the system of "corrective labor camps" (Russian: исправительно-трудовые лагеря, Ispravitel'no-trudovye lagerya), the backbone of what is commonly referred to as the "Gulag", was a secret decree of Sovnarkom of July 11 1929 about the utilization of penal labor (see its wikisource reference), that duplicated the corresponding appendix to the minutes of Politburo meeting of June 27, 1929.

As an all-Union institution and a main administration with the OGPU (the Soviet secret police), the GULAG was officially established on April 25, 1930 as the "ULAG" by the OGPU order 130/63 in accordance with the Sovnarkom order 22 p. 248 dated April 7, 1930, and was renamed into GULAG in November.

In the early 1930s, a drastic tightening of Soviet penal policy caused a significant growth of the prison camp population. During the period of the Great Purge (1937–38), mass arrests caused another upsurge in inmate numbers. During these years, hundreds of thousands of individuals were arrested and sentenced to long prison terms on the grounds of one of the multiple passages of the notorious Article 58 of the Criminal Codes of the Union republics, which defined punishment for various forms of "counterrevolutionary activities."

The hypothesis that economic considerations were responsible for mass arrests during the period of Stalinism has been refuted on the grounds of former Soviet archives that have become accessible since the 1990s, although some archival sources also tend to support an economic hypothesis.[10][11] Still, the development of the camp system followed economic lines. The growth of the camp system coincided with the peak of the Soviet industrialization campaign. Most of the camps were established to accommodate the masses of incoming prisoners were assigned distinct economic tasks. These included the exploitation of natural resources and the colonization of remote areas as well as the realization of enormous infrastructural facilities and industrial construction projects.

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Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn gives his re-enactment of being in the gulag - this picture was not taken in a gulag

In 1931–32, the Gulag had approximately 200,000 prisoners in the camps; in 1935 — approximately 800,000 in camps and 300,000 in colonies (annual averages), and in 1939 — about 1.3 millions in camps and 350,000 in colonies. [12] (all data about the numbers of prisoners here and below are taken from formerly secret documents produced by the NKVD).

During World War II, Gulag populations declined sharply, owing to the mass releases of hundreds of thousands of prisoners who were conscripted and sent directly to the front lines and a steep rise in mortality in 1942–43. After World War II the number of inmates in prison camps and colonies again rose sharply, reaching approximately 2.5 million people by the early 1950s (about 1.7 million of whom were in camps). Hundreds of thousands of these were eventually convicted and transferred to prison camps. Large numbers of civilians from Russian territories which came under foreign occupation and territories annexed by the Soviet Union after the war were also sent there.

After the Soviet invasion of Poland following the corresponding German invasion that marked the start of World War II in 1939, the Soviet Union annexed eastern parts (so-called "Kresy") of the Second Polish Republic. During 1939-1941 1.450 million people inhabiting the region were deported by the Soviet regime, of whom 63.1% were Poles, and 7.4% were Jews.<ref name=> Poland's Holocaust, Tadeusz Piotrowski, 1998 ISBN 0-7864-0371-3, P.14 Previously it was believed that about 1.0 million Polish citizens died at the hands of the Soviets, <ref name=>Franciszek Proch, Poland's Way of the Cross, New York 1987 P.146 however recently Polish historians, based mostly on queries in Soviet archives, estimate the number of deaths at about 350,000 people deported in 1939-1945.<ref name=>Project In Posterum [2](go to note on Polish Casualties by Tadeusz Piotrowski)[13]

When the war ended in May 1945, as many as two million former Russian citizens were forcefully repatriated (against their will) into the USSR.[14] On 11 February 1945, at the conclusion of the Yalta Conference, the United States and United Kingdom signed a Repatriation Agreement with the USSR.[15] One interpretation of this agreement resulted in the forcible repatriation of all Soviets. British and U.S. civilian authorities ordered their military forces in Europe to deport to the Soviet Union up to two million former residents of the USSR, including persons who had left Russia and established different citizenship years before. The forced repatriation operations took place from 1945-1947.[16]

At the end of the World War II, there were more than 5 million "displaced persons" from the Soviet Union in the Western Europe. About 3 million had been forced laborers (Ostarbeiters)[17] in Germany and occupied territories.[18][19] The Soviet POWs and the Vlasov men were put under the jurisdiction of SMERSH (Death to Spies). Of the 5.7 million Soviet prisoners of war captured by the Germans, 3.5 million had died while in German captivity by the end of the war. [20][21] The survivors on their return to the USSR were treated as traitors (see Order No. 270).[22][23] Over 1.5 million surviving Red Army soldiers imprisoned by the Germans may have been sent to the Gulag.[24][25][26]

Yet the major reason for the post-war increase in the number of prisoners was the tightening of legislation on property offenses in summer 1947 (at this time there was a famine in some parts of the USSR, claiming about 1 million lives), which resulted in hundreds of thousands of convictions to lengthy prison terms, sometimes on the basis of cases of petty theft or embezzlement.

For years after World War II, a significant minority of the inmates were Ukrainians, Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians from lands newly incorporated into the USSR, as well as Finns, Poles, Romanians and others. POWs, in contrast, were kept in a separate camp system (see POW labor in the Soviet Union), which was managed by a separate main administration with the NKVD/MVD.

The state continued to maintain the camp system for a while after Stalin's death in March 1953, although the period saw the grip of the camp authorities weaken and a number of conflicts and uprisings occur (see Bitch Wars; Kengir uprising). The subsequent amnesty program was limited to those who had to serve at most 5 years, therefore mostly those convicted of common crimes were then freed. The release of political prisoners started in 1954 and became widespread, and also coupled with mass rehabilitations, after Nikita Khrushchev's denunciation of Stalinism in his Secret Speech at the 20th Congress of the CPSU in February 1956. Altogether, according to recent estimates on the basis of archival documents, about 18–20 million people had been prisoners in camps and colonies throughout the period of Stalinism at one point or another. By the end of the 1950s, virtually all "corrective labor camps" were dissolved. Colonies, however, continued to exist.

Officially the GULAG was liquidated by the MVD order 20 of January 25, 1960.


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Prisoner labour at the construction of Belomorkanal, 1931–33

Living and working conditions in the camps varied significantly across time and place, depending, among other things, on the impact of broader events (World War II, countrywide famines and shortages, waves of terror, sudden influx or release of large numbers of prisoners). However, to one degree or another, the large majority of prisoners at most times faced meager food rations; inadequate clothing; overcrowding, poorly insulated housing; poor hygiene; and insufficient or inadequate health care. The overwhelming majority of prisoners were compelled to perform harsh physical labor. In most periods and economic branches, the degree of mechanization of work processes was significantly lower than in the civilian industry: tools were often primitive and machinery, if existent, short in supply. Officially established work hours were in most periods longer and days off were fewer than for civilian workers. Sometimes official work time regulations were extended by local camp administrators.

In general, the central administrative bodies showed a discernible interest in maintaining the labor force of prisoners in a condition allowing the fulfillment of construction and production plans handed down from above. Besides a wide array of punishments for prisoners refusing to work (which, in practice, were sometimes applied to prisoners that were too enfeebled to meet production quota), they instituted a number of positive incentives intended to boost productivity. These included monetary bonuses (since the early 1930s) and wage payments (from 1950 onwards), cuts of sentences on an individual basis, general early release schemes for norm fulfillment and overfulfillment (until 1939, again in selected camps from 1946 onwards), preferential treatment and privileges for the most productive workers (shock workers or Stakhanovites in Soviet parlance). [27]

A distinctive incentive scheme that included both coercive and motivational elements and was applied universally in all camps consisted in standardized "nourishment scales": the size of the inmates’ ration depended on the percentage of the work quota delivered. Naftaly Frenkel is credited for the introduction of this policy. While it was effective in compelling many prisoners to make serious work efforts, for many a prisoner it had the adverse effect, accelerating the exhaustion and sometimes causing the death of persons unable to fulfill high production quota.

Immediately after the German attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941 the conditions in camps worsened drastically: quotas were increased, rations cut, and medical supplies came close to none, all of which led to a sharp increase in mortality. The situation slowly improved in the final period and after the end of the war.

Considering the overall conditions and their influence on inmates, it is important to distinguish three major strata of Gulag inmates:
  • people used to physical labor: "kulaks", osadniks, "ukazniks" (people sentenced for violation of various ukases, such as Law of Spikelets, decree about work discipline, etc.), occasional violators of criminal law
  • dedicated criminals
  • people unused to physical labour sentenced for various political reasons.


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Part of 'Project 503' to build a railroad from Salekhard to Igarka near Turukhansk on the Yenisey

In the early days of Gulag, the locations for the camps were chosen primarily for the ease of isolation of prisoners. Remote monasteries in particular were frequently reused as sites for new camps. The site on the Solovetsky Islands in the White Sea is one of the earliest and also most noteworthy, taking root soon after the Revolution in 1918. The colloquial name for the islands, "Solovki", entered the vernacular as a synonym for the labour camp in general. It was being presented to the world as an example of the new Soviet way of "re-education of class enemies" and reintegrating them through labour into the Soviet society. Initially the inmates, the significant part being Russian intelligentsia, enjoyed relative freedom (within the natural confinement of the islands). Local newspapers and magazines were edited and even some scientific research was carried out (e.g., a local botanical garden was maintained, but unfortunately later lost completely). Eventually it turned into an ordinary Gulag camp; in fact some historians maintain that Solovki was a pilot camp of this type. See Solovki for more detail. Maxim Gorky visited the camp in 1929 and published an apology of it.

With the new emphasis on Gulag as the means of concentrating cheap labour, new camps were then constructed throughout the Soviet sphere of influence, wherever the economic task at hand dictated their existence (or was designed specifically to avail itself of them, such as Belomorkanal or Baikal Amur Mainline), including facilities in big cities — parts of the famous Moscow Metro and the Moscow State University new campus were built by forced labour. Many more projects during the rapid industrialization of the 1930s, war-time and post-war periods were fulfilled on the backs of convicts, and the activity of Gulag camps spanned a wide cross-section of Soviet industry.

The majority of Gulag camps were positioned in extremely remote areas of north-eastern Siberia (the best known clusters are Sevvostlag (The North-East Camps) along Kolyma river and Norillag near Norilsk) and in the south-eastern parts of the Soviet Union, mainly in the steppes of Kazakhstan (Luglag, Steplag, Peschanlag). These were vast and sparsely inhabited regions with no roads (in fact, the construction of the roads themselves was assigned to the inmates of specialized railroad camps) or sources of food, but rich in minerals and other natural resources (such as timber). However, camps were generally spread throughout the entire Soviet Union, including the European parts of Russia, Byelorussia, and Ukraine. There were also several camps located outside of the Soviet Union, in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, and Mongolia, which were under the direct control of the Gulag.

Not all camps were fortified; in fact some in Siberia were marked only by posts. Escape was deterred by the harsh elements, as well as tracking dogs that were assigned to each camp. While during the 1920s and 1930s native tribes often aided escapees, many of the tribes were also victimized by escaped thieves. Tantalized by large rewards as well, they began aiding authorities in the capture of Gulag inmates. Camp guards were also given stern incentive to keep their inmates in line at all costs; if a prisoner escaped under a guard's watch, the guard would often be stripped of his uniform and become a Gulag inmate himself. Further, if an escaping prisoner was shot, guards could be fined amounts that were often equivalent to one or two weeks wages.

In some cases, teams of inmates were dropped to a new territory with a limited supply of resources and left to initiate a new camp or die. Sometimes it took several attempts before the next wave of colonists could survive the elements.

The area along the Indigirka river was known as the Gulag inside the Gulag. In 1926, the Oimiakon (Оймякон) village in this region registered the record low temperature of −71.2 °C (−96 °F).



The Gulag spanned nearly four decades of Soviet and East European history and affected millions of individuals. Its cultural impact was enormous.

The Gulag has become a major influence on contemporary Russian thinking, and an important part of modern Russian folklore. Many songs by the authors-performers known as the bards, most notably Vladimir Vysotsky and Alexander Galich, neither of whom ever served time in the camps, describe life inside the Gulag and glorified the life of "Zeks". Words and phrases which originated in the labor camps became part of the Russian/Soviet vernacular in the 1960s and 1970s.

The memoirs of Alexander Dolgun, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Varlam Shalamov and Yevgenia Ginzburg, among others, became a symbol of defiance in Soviet society. These writings, particularly those of Solzhenitsyn, harshly chastised the Soviet people for their tolerance and apathy regarding the Gulag, but at the same time provided a testament to the courage and resolve of those who were imprisoned.

Another cultural phenomenon in the USSR linked with the Gulag was the forced migration of many artists and other people of culture to Siberia. This resulted in a Renaissance of sorts in places like Magadan, where, for example, the quality of theatre production was comparable to Moscow's.


Many eyewitness accounts of Gulag prisoners were published before World War II.
  • Julius Margolin's book A Travel to the Land Ze-Ka was finished in 1947, but it was impossible to publish such a book about the Soviet Union at the time, immediately after World War II.
  • Gustaw Herling-Grudziński wrote A World Apart, which was translated into English by Andrzej Ciolkosz and published with an introduction by Bertrand Russell in 1951. By describing life in the gulag in a harrowing personal account, it provides an in-depth, original analysis of the nature of the Soviet communist system.
  • Alexander Solzhenitsyn's book The Gulag Archipelago was not the first literary work about labour camps. His previous book on the subject, "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich", about a typical day of the GULAG inmate, was originally published in the most prestigious Soviet monthly, Novy Mir, (New World), in November 1962, but was soon banned and withdrawn from all libraries. It was the first work to demonstrate the Gulag as an instrument of governmental repression against its own citizens on a massive scale.
  • János Rózsás, Hungarian writer, often called as the Hungarian Solzhenitsyn, wrote a lot of books and articles on the issue of GULAG.
  • Karlo Štajner, an Austrian communist active in the former Kingdom of Yugoslavia and manager of Comintern Publishing House in Moscow from 1932–39, was arrested one night and taken from his Moscow home under accusation of anti-revolutionary activities. He spent the following 20 years in camps from Solovki to Norilsk. After USSR–Yugoslavian political normalization he was re-tried and quickly found innocent. He left the Soviet Union with his wife, who had been waiting for him for 20 years, in 1956 and spent the rest of his life in Zagreb, Croatia. He wrote an impressive book entitled 7000 days in Siberia.
  • Dancing Under the Red Star by Karl Tobien (ISBN 1-4000-7078-3) tells the story of Margaret Werner, a young athletic girl who moves to Russia right before the start of Stalin's terror. She faces many hardships, as her father is taken away from her and imprisoned. Werner is the only American woman who survived the Gulag to tell about it.
  • "Alexander Dolgun's Story: An American in the Gulag." (ISBN 0-394-49497-0), of a member of the US Embassy, and "I Was a Slave in Russia" (ISBN 0-815-95800-5), an American factory owner's son, were two more American citizens interned who wrote of their ordeal. Both were interned due to their American citizenship for about 8 years circa 1946–55.


Soviet show that among the goals of the GULAG was colonization of sparsely populated remote areas. To this end, the notion of "free settlement" was introduced.

When well-behaved persons had served the majority of their terms, they could be released for "free settlement" (вольное поселение, "volnoye poseleniye") outside the confinement of the camp. They were known as "free settlers" (вольнопоселенцы, "volnoposelentsy", not to be confused with the term ссыльнопоселенцы, "ssyl'noposelentsy", "exile settlers"). In addition, for persons who served full term, but who were denied the free choice of place of residence, it was recommended to assign them for "free settlement" and give them land in the general vicinity of the place of confinement.

This implement was also inherited from the katorga system.

Life after term served

Persons who served a term in a camp or in a prison were restricted from taking a wide range of jobs. Concealment of a previous imprisonment was a triable offense. Persons who served terms as "politicals" were nuisances for "First Departments" (Первый Отдел, Pervyj Otdel, outlets of the secret police at all enterprises and institutions), because former "politicals" had to be monitored.

Many people released from camps were restricted from settling in larger cities.

Latest developments

Anne Applebaum's monograph described the releases of political prisoners from the camps as late as 1987. In November 1991 the Russian parliament, the Supreme Soviet of RSFSR, passed the "Declaration of Rights and Freedoms of the Individual" which guaranteed theoretically, among other liberties, the right to disagree with the government.

Lack of prosecution

It has often been asked why there has been nothing along the lines of the Nuremberg Trials for those guilty of atrocities at the Gulag camps. Two recent books, reviewed by Peter Rollberg in the Moscow Times[28], cast some light on this. Tomasz Kizny's Gulag: Life and Death Inside the Soviet Concentration Camps 1917-1990 details the history of the labour camps over the years while Oleg Khlevniuk's The History of the Gulag: From Collectivization to the Great Terror presents records of confidential memos, official resolutions, individual testimonies and tabulated statistics. Rollberg explains how both books contribute to our understanding of why there were no post-Communism trials. "The gulag had already killed tens of thousands of its own most ardent killers. Again and again, yesterday's judges were declared today's criminals, so that Soviet society never had to own up to its millions of state-backed murders."


  • Anne Applebaum, Gulag: A History, Broadway Books, 2003, hardcover, 720 pp., ISBN 0-7679-0056-1.
  • Walter Ciszek, With God in Russia, Ignatius Press, 1997, 433 pp., ISBN 0-8987-0574-6.
  • Nicolas Werth, "A State Against Its People: Violence, Repression, and Terror in the Soviet Union, in Stephane Courtois et al., eds., The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression, Harvard University Press, 1999, ISBN 0-674-07608-7, pp. 33-260.
  • Alexander Dolgun Dolgun, Alexander, Watson, Patrick "Alexander Dolgun's Story: An American in the Gulag." NY, Alfred A. Knopf, 1975
  • Simon Ertz, Zwangsarbeit im stalinistischen Lagersystem: Eine Untersuchung der Methoden, Strategien und Ziele ihrer Ausnutzung am Beispiel Norilsk, 1935-1953, Duncker & Humblot, 2006, 273 pp., ISBN 9783428118632.
  • J. Arch Getty, Oleg V. Naumov, The Road to Terror: Stalin and the Self-Destruction of the Bolsheviks, 1932-1939, Yale University Press, 1999, 635 pp., ISBN 0-300-07772-6.
  • Eugenia Ginzburg, Journey into the whirlwind, Harvest/HBJ Book, 2002, 432 pp., ISBN 0156027518.
  • Eugenia Ginzburg, Within the Whirlwind, Harvest/HBJ Book, 1982, 448 pp., ISBN 0156976498.
  • Gustaw Herling, A World Apart: Imprisonment in a Soviet Labor Camp During World War II, Penguin, 1996, 284 pp., ISBN 0-14-025184-7.
  • Paul Gregory, Valery Lazarev, eds, The Economics of Forced Labour: The Soviet Gulag, Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 2003, full text available at
  • Oleg V. Khlevniuk, The History of the Gulag: From Collectivization to the Great Terror, Yale University Press, 2004, hardcover, 464 pp., ISBN 0-300-09284-9.
  • Tomasz Kizny, Gulag: Life and Death Inside the Soviet Concentration Camps 1917-1990, Firefly Books Ltd., 2004, 496 pp., ISBN 1-55297-964-4.
  • John H. Noble, I Was a Slave in Russia, Broadview, Illinois: Cicero Bible Press, 1961).
  • Jacques Rossi, The Gulag Handbook: An Encyclopedia Dictionary of Soviet Penitentiary Institutions and Terms Related to the Forced Labour Camps, 1989, ISBN 1-55778-024-2.
  • Varlam Shalamov, Kolyma Tales, Penguin Books, 1995, 528 pp., ISBN 0-14-018695-6.
  • Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago, Harper & Row, 660 pp., ISBN 0-06-080332-0.
  • Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago: Two, Harper & Row, 712 pp., ISBN 0-06-080345-2.
  • Solzhenitsyn's, Shalamov's, Ginzburg's works at (in original Russian)
  • Istorija stalinskogo Gulaga: konec 1920-kh - pervaia polovina 1950-kh godov; sobranie dokumentov v 7 tomach, ed. by V. P. Kozlov et al., Moskva: ROSSPEN 2004-5, 7 vols. ISBN 5-8243-0604-4
  • Alexander Dolgun, Alexander Dolgun's story: An American in the Gulag, Knopf, 1975, 370 pp., ISBN 978-0394494975.
  • Chabua Amirejibi, გორა მბორგალი (Gora Mborgali). Tbilisi, Georgia: Chabua, 2001, 650 pp., ISBN 99940-734-1-9.


1. ^ The Gulag Collection: Paintings of Nikolai Getman.
2. ^ "White Sea Baltic Canal named after Stalin. The History of the Construction" (Беломорско-Балтийский канал имени Сталина. История строительства. / Belomorsko-Baltiyskiy kanal imeni Stalina. Istoriya stroitel'stva) Moscow, 1934, p. 138
3. ^ Gulag: Understanding the Magnitude of What Happened
4. ^ The National Archives Learning Curve
5. ^ German POWs in Allied Hands - World War II
6. ^ Gulag: A History of the Soviet Camps, by Anne Applebaum
7. ^ Gulag
8. ^ The Other Killing Machine
9. ^ Stalin's forgotten victims stuck in the gulag
10. ^ See, e.g., Jakobson, Michael. Origins of the GULag: The Soviet Prison Camp System 1917–34. (Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 1993), p. 88.
11. ^ See, e.g., Ivanova, Galina M. Labor Camp Socialism: The Gulag in the Totalitarian System. (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2000), p. 70 (and, in fact, almost all of Chapter 2).
12. ^ Cf, e.g., Istorija stalinskogo Gulaga: konec 1920-kh - pervaia polovina 1950-kh godov; sobranie dokumentov v 7 tomakh, ed. by V. P. Kozlov et al., Moskva: ROSSPEN 2004, vol. 4: Naselenie GULAGa
13. ^ Piotr Wrobel. The Devil's Playground: Poland in World War II
14. ^ The United States and Forced Repatriation of Soviet Citizens, 1944-47 by Mark Elliott Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 88, No. 2 (Jun., 1973), pp. 253-275
15. ^ Repatriation -- The Dark Side of World War II
16. ^ Forced Repatriation to the Soviet Union: The Secret Betrayal
17. ^ Final Compensation Pending for Former Nazi Forced Laborers
18. ^ Forced Labor at Ford Werke AG during the Second World War
19. ^ The Nazi Ostarbeiter (Eastern Worker) Program
20. ^ Soviet Prisoners of War: Forgotten Nazi Victims of World War II
21. ^ Soviet Prisoners-of-War
22. ^ The warlords: Joseph Stalin
23. ^ Remembrance (Zeithain Memorial Grove)
24. ^ Sorting Pieces of the Russian Past
25. ^ Patriots ignore greatest brutality
26. ^ Joseph Stalin killer file
27. ^ Leonid Borodkin and Simon Ertz 'Forced Labour and the Need for Motivation: Wages and Bonuses in the Stalinist Camp System', Comparative Economic Studies, June 2005, Vol.47, Iss. 2, pp. 418–436.
28. ^ Prosecuting the Gulag, Moscow Times, January 21, 2005, retrieved 18 January 2007.

See also


  • (Russian)
  • (Russian)

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Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (abbreviated USSR, Russian: ; tr.
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Acronyms and initialisms are abbreviations, such as NATO, laser, and IBM, that are formed using the initial letters of words or word parts in a phrase or name.
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The NKVD (Narodny Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del  ) (Russian: НКВД,
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Anne Applebaum (born 25 July 1964) is a journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author who has written extensively about communism and the development of civil society in Eastern Europe and the USSR / Russia.
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The NKVD (Narodny Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del  ) (Russian: НКВД,
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A labor camp is a simplified detention facility where inmates are engaged in penal labor. Labor camps have many common aspects with slavery and with prisons. Conditions at labor camps vary widely depending on the operators.
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Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (abbreviated USSR, Russian: ; tr.
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Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Born: November 11 1918 (1918--) (age 90)
Kislovodsk, Russia
Occupation: Writer

Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn
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The Gulag Archipelago (Russian: Архипелаг ГУЛАГ) is a work based on the Soviet forced labor and concentration camp system by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
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Slavery is a social-economic system under which certain persons — known as slaves — are deprived of personal freedom and compelled to perform labour or services.
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Politburo is short for Political Bureau. The term originates from the Russian Politicheskoye Buro, which contracts to Politburo. A Politburo is the executive organization for a number of political parties, most notably for Communist Parties.
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Internment is the imprisonment or confinement[1] of people, commonly in large groups, without trial. The Oxford English Dictionary (1989) gives the meaning as "The action of ‘interning’; confinement within the limits of a country or place".
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Writing system: Cyrillic (Russian variant)  
Official status
Official language of:  Abkhazia (Georgia)
 Commonwealth of Independent States (working)
 Crimea (de facto; Ukraine)
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Red Army (Russian: Рабоче-Крестьянская Красная Армия, Raboche-Krest'yanskaya K
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Labor army (трудовая армия, трудармия) was introduced in Bolshevist Russia in 1920.
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Anastas Hovhannesi Mikoyan (Armenian Անաստաս Հովհաննեսի Միկոյան; (November 25 [O.S.
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White Sea-Baltic Sea Canal (Russian: Belomorsko-Baltiyskiy Kanal; BBK), is a ship canal that joins the White Sea and the Baltic Sea near St. Petersburg. Its original name was (until 1961) Belomorsko-Baltiyskiy Kanal imeni Stalina
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The Great Purge (Russian: Большая чистка, transliterated Bolshaya chistka
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Allied powers:
 Soviet Union
 United States
 United Kingdom
 France al. Axis powers:
 Italy al.
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POW is a three-letter acronym and may refer to:
  • Prisoner of War, a combatant who is imprisoned by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict
  • Polish Military Organisation, the Polish Military Organisation active before and during World War I

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Battle of Stalingrad was a battle between Germany and its allies and the Soviet Union for the Soviet city of Stalingrad (today known as Volgograd) that took place between August 21 1942 and February 2 1943, as part of World War II.
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Kolyma (pronounced koh-lee-MAH) region (Russian: Колыма) is located in the far northeastern area of Russia in what is commonly known as Siberia but is actually part of the Russian Far East.
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Norilsk (Russian: Нори́льск) is a major city in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia. It obtained city status in 1953.
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Vorkuta (Russian: Воркута́) is a coal mining town in the Komi Republic, Russia, situated just north of the Arctic circle in the Pechora coal basin. Its population as of the 2002 census was 84,917.
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Sharashka (sometimes Sharaga or Sharazhka, Russian: шара́шка IPA: [ʂʌˈraʂkə]
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In the Soviet Union, psychiatry was used for punitive purposes. Psychiatric hospitals were often used by the authorities as prisons in order to isolate political prisoners from the rest of society, discredit their ideas, and break them physically and mentally; as such they
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Involuntary commitment is the practice of using legal means or forms as part of a mental health law to commit a person to a mental hospital, insane asylum or psychiatric ward against their
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This article has been tagged since July 2007.
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Vladimir Konstantinovich Bukovsky (Russian: Влади́мир Константи́нович
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