Deep inside the Soviet Gulag

In truth, the genocidal events of the 20th century are often too cataclysmic to wrap our minds around. It’s not due to a lack of compassion; it’s simply that the revolting efficiency and sheer figures involved often dehumanize genocide into abstraction.

The Other Killing Machine

In the introduction to this important book, Anne Applebaum, a columnist for The Washington Post, ponders why the Soviet and Nazi regimes are treated so differently in the popular imagination. Young people who would never purchase Nazi regalia think nothing of sporting T-shirts emblazoned with the Communist hammer and sickle.

The World of the Gulag

During a couple of tours as a correspondent in Russia and Germany, I was struck by a remarkable contrast. Visitors to Moscow are happy to snap up memorabilia featuring hammer-and-sickle emblems and images of Lenin and Stalin, but visitors to Berlin wouldn’t dream of buying swastika trinkets or Hitler portraits—even if they were on offer, …

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Dark side of the moon

There can hardly be a greater task in 20th century world history than to understand the Holocaust and the Gulag. Why did these related extermination projects happen, and how did similar phenomena occur in other parts of communist Europe in the early 1950s and in Cambodia in the 1970s?

Circles of Hell

What was the Gulag? It was a massive prison labor system, erected in the U.S.S.R. during the Stalin years, whose unique characteristic was a strange and volatile combination of punitive hysteria, economic exploitation and heartbreaking waste. During the 25 years or so from its full realization until its dismantling after Stalin’s death in 1953, the …

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