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?”

The Other Killing Machine

  • By
  • Steven Merritt Miner

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. Continue reading “The Other Killing Machine”

The World of the Gulag

  • By
  • Andrew Nagorski

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, which they aren’t. Continue reading “The World of the Gulag”

Seasons in Hell – How the Gulag grew.

  • By
  • David Remnick

On a winter afternoon just before the collapse of the Soviet regime, I paid a call on Dmitri Likhachev, an eminent scholar of medieval Russian literature and an embodiment of the tragic history of his city. (The city was called St. Petersburg when he was born, Petrograd when he was growing up, Leningrad through his long adulthood, and, for the last eight years of his life, St. Petersburg again.) Likhachev was then eighty-four and a director of the literary institute known as Pushkin House. Continue reading “Seasons in Hell – How the Gulag grew.”

Circles of Hell

  • By
  • Lars T. Lih

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 Gulag made substantial contributions to the Soviet economy at the cost of the grotesque suffering of millions. Yet ultimately, it was a costly drag on the economy as a whole. Continue reading “Circles of Hell”