Gulag

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Gulag,

system of forced-labor prison camps in the USSR, from the Russian acronym [GULag] for the Main Directorate of Corrective Labor Camps, a department of the Soviet secret policesecret police,
policing organization operating in secrecy for the political purposes of its government, often with terroristic procedures. The Nature of a Secret Police
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 (originally the Cheka; subsequently the GPU, OGPU, NKVD, MVD, and finally the KGB). The Gulag was first established under Vladimir LeninLenin, Vladimir Ilyich
, 1870–1924, Russian revolutionary, the founder of Bolshevism and the major force behind the Revolution of Oct., 1917. Early Life
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 during the early Bolshevik years (c.1920). The vast penal network, which ultimately included 476 camp complexes, functioned throughout Russia, many in the wastes of Siberia and the Soviet Far East. The system reached its peak after 1928 under Joseph StalinStalin, Joseph Vissarionovich
, 1879–1953, Soviet Communist leader and head of the USSR from the death of V. I. Lenin (1924) until his own death, b. Gori, Georgia.
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, who used it to maintain the Soviet state by keeping its populace in a state of terror. Gulag deaths of both political prisoners and common criminals from overwork, starvation, and other forms of maltreatment are estimated to have been in the millions during Stalin's years in power.

Perhaps the best known of the Gulag camp complexes was Kolyma, an area in the Far East about six times the size of France that contained more than 100 camps. About three million are thought to have died there from its establishment in 1931 to 1953, the year of Stalin's death. The Gulag scheme was adapted into the infamous concentration campconcentration camp,
a detention site outside the normal prison system created for military or political purposes to confine, terrorize, and, in some cases, kill civilians.
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 system used during World War II, especially as Nazi death factories. The Soviet system was publicized in the writings of Aleksandr SolzhenitsynSolzhenitsyn, Aleksandr Isayevich
, 1918–2008, Russian writer widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential authors of the 20th cent., b. Kislovodsk.

Solzhenitsyn grew up in Rostov-na-Donu, where he studied physics and mathematics at Rostov State Univ.
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, particularly in his book The Gulag Archipelago (1973, tr. 1974). Millions were released from the Gulag under Nikita KhrushchevKhrushchev, Nikita Sergeyevich
, 1894–1971, Soviet Communist leader, premier of the USSR (1958–64), and first secretary of the Communist party of the Soviet Union (1953–64).
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, and the system was finally abolished by Mikhail GorbachevGorbachev, Mikhail Sergeyevich
, 1931–, Soviet political leader. Born in the agricultural region of Stavropol, Gorbachev studied law at Moscow State Univ., where in 1953 he married a philosophy student, Raisa Maksimovna Titorenko (1932?–99).
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.

Bibliography

See A. Shifrin, The First Guidebook to Prisons and Concentration Camps of the Soviet Union (tr. 1980), A. Applebaum, Gulag: A History (2003) and Gulag Voices (2011) ; N. Adler, The Gulag Survivor (2004); F. V. Mochulsky, Gulag Boss (tr. 2010); A. Solzhenitsyn, ed., Voices from the Gulag (tr. 2010).

Gulag

(formerly) the central administrative department of the Soviet security service, established in 1930, responsible for maintaining prisons and forced labour camps
References in periodicals archive ?
The experience of being taken into God's story through Jesus Christ as Rupintojelis--one with all who suffer--was lived out by the Christian women and men imprisoned in the Soviet Gulags.
Ahn spent eight years working in gulag camps before he fled to South Korea.
After a categorical refusal, he was re-sentenced to hard exile in the Siberian gulags where he would remain for another ten years.
She was one of the founders of Memorial (an association based in Moscow involved in protecting human rights) to make sure those who died under Stalin and those who were lost in the Gulags were not forgotten.
Senator Durbin may not agree with the efforts our troops are putting forth in Guantanamo Bay but to demean them and their efforts in such a way to liken them to Nazis and Soviet gulags is a grossly unfair and hurtful remark.
This is the point the media failed to make: that the Abu Ghraib prison--like the entire American gulag system ranging from Iraq and Afghanistan across the ocean to Cuba--is functioning exactly as it was designed to function.
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After his release, Solzhenitsyn began publishing materials describing the horrors of the Soviet prison camps, or gulags.
Can there be an understanding of life so staggering in its immensity that, in comparison to it, even gulags and the Holocaust seem like dropped ice-cream cones?
With such stories, some never before told, the indefatigable Russian military historian Dmitri Volkogonov has given us a glimpse of the Lenin that official Soviet historians did not want anyone to know: of how Lenin, leader of the people's revolution, laid the foundations of the gulags and cruel repression of the church and the intelligentsia, and of how he launched a cult of personality.