I am a highschool student in Southern California, and my topic of discussion is centered on the gulags, or slave labor camps, in the former USSR. Gulags are still in use today, mainly in North Korea, as a symbol of terror and social deterrent implemented by the government to keep the civilian population in check. Millions of people were sent to these hell holes and other “re-education” camps throughout the USSR, with many serving multiple years in the system under the constant oppression of the environment and camp guards. These camps were in their height in the Stalinist period of the USSR (1927-1953), where people of many nationalities and social classes were arrested by the regime. Unless they were executed, these prisoners were then sent to work camps in the coldest regions of the USSR, usually in Siberia.
For the sake of comparison, I will compare the admittance and death rate in these camps to other similar events in history. However, I will not compare the personal stories of prisoners in gulags to those that were in, for example, the former Cambodian dictator Pol Pot’s concentration camps or the Third Reich’s horrifying Holocaust. The “who suffered more” argument is too controversial and may incite conflict, for a large portion of people from every situation have endured much more than any human being can. This subject has hard facts and eyewitness details, but I will include my personal opinion on the more pitiful accounts and the daily life of gulag prisoners. Each post will usually revolve around a notable event which rose the gulag admittance records and describing the individual hardships and conflicts the prisoners had with each other, themselves, or the camp staff. A few pictures will be included when necessary, although they are graphic and will disturb some readers.
Do Svidaniya, Comrades.