Inside Soviet Labour camps

  • By
  • Alison Roberts

While Anne Applebaum was researching her extraordinary history of the Soviet labour camps, simply titled Gulag, she began to suffer the same recurrent nightmare: she would be climbing the steps of a wooden bell tower in the old Solovetsky monastery on an island in the White Sea, the site of the first permanent Soviet concentration camp – and at the same time climbing over, and on, the bodies of the dead. “It happened on numerous occasions,” she says, “and it’s the only time I’ve ever had that kind of repetitive nightmare in my life.” Continue reading “Inside Soviet Labour camps”

A world built on slavery

  • By
  • Richard Overy

The word Gulag (an acronym from the Russian for the more cumbersome “Main Administration of Labour Camps”) has become synonymous with the accumulated evils of 70 years of Soviet dictatorship. Yet the West knows little about the Soviet concentration camp system. Even to call them “concentration camps”, equivalent to the much better-known Nazi system, will come as a surprise to some. Continue reading “A world built on slavery”

Could it happen again?

  • By
  • Vladimir Bukovsky

Anyone who writes a history of the Gulag after Solzhenitsyn must have a special reason — beyond a simple interest in historical detail — before taking on such a monumental task. It is true, of course, that at the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s, when Solzhenitsyn was writing his famous book, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956, he had no access to the documents that are now available, and political repression was still continuing, albeit on a much smaller scale than it had under Stalin. Continue reading “Could it happen again?”