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STALIN’s GULAG ARCHIPELAGO. The Role of Slave Labor and the Labor Camps in the USSR’s Industrial Revolution. The 5-Year Plan Need for Labor. Enormity of the tasks set Labor Shortages Role of Prison Camps. GULAG. Introduction of the Gulag First Gulag Project: Belomor Canal

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stalin s gulag archipelago


The Role of Slave Labor and the Labor Camps in the USSR’s Industrial Revolution

the 5 year plan need for labor
The 5-Year Plan Need for Labor
  • Enormity of the tasks set
  • Labor Shortages
  • Role of Prison Camps
  • Introduction of the Gulag
  • First Gulag Project: Belomor Canal
  • Equipping of Prison Workers
workers working with nothing
Workers Working with Nothing

Gulag workers working with picks and shovels on a massive construction project. Note the absence of heavy machinery that would normally be used.

the labor camps
The Labor Camps
  • Abundance of labor camps by end of 1930s
  • Rapid increase in number of prisoners
  • Horrible Conditions
eating utensils daily bread ration
Eating Utensils & Daily Bread Ration

"Each time they brought in the soup... it made us all want to cry. We were ready to cry for fear that the soup would be thin. And when a miracle occurred and the soup was thick we couldn’t believe it and ate it as slowly as possible. But even with thick soup in a warm stomach there remained a sucking pain; we’d been hungry for too long. All human emotions—love, friendship, envy, concern for one’s fellow man, compassion, longing for fame, honesty—had left us with the flesh that had melted from our bodies...“ - V.T. Shalamov, “Dry Rations,”

vicious cycle of malnutrition work
Vicious Cycle of Malnutrition & Work

We were never in a condition to o what was demanded of us to have enough to eat. The hungrier we were, the worse we worked. The worse we worked, the hungrier we became. From that vicious circle there was no escape

meals in a labor camp account by a gulag survivor
Meals in a Labor CampAccount by a Gulag Survivor

1st cauldron (for those who failed to achieve the full norms; the day laborers in the zone; and invalids, second class) thin soup twice a day and 400 grams of bread.

2nd cauldron (the full norm and office workers) thin soup twice a day; 700 grams of bread, and buckwheat in the evenings

3rd cauldron (for those achieving 15 or 20 percent above the norm): soup twice a day, 900 grams of bread, buckwheat and a small piece of fish or meat in the evening.

4th cauldron (the governing staff) 750 grams of bread and a meal twice a day containing meat or fats.

5th cauldron (sick food) a meal three times a day and 700 grams of bread.

The prisoners are fed between 4 and 5 AM before leaving for work and after their return between 5 and 7 PM. But as a rule the prisoners receive no food during their 12 hours of work.

what were their crimes
What Were Their Crimes?

“Look Me in the Eyes and Tell Me Honestly:Who is your friend? Who is your enemy?You have no friends among capitalists.You have no enemies among the workers. Only in a union of the workers of all nations will you be victorious over capitalism and liberated from exploitation.Down with national antagonisms!Workers of the world unite!”

crimes punishable
Crimes Punishable

Have you ever been late to work?

In the Stalin era, a person who arrived late to work three times could be sent to the Gulag for three years.

Have you ever told a joke about a government official?

In the Stalin era, many were sent to the Gulag for up to 25 years for telling an innocent joke about a Communist Party official.

If your family was starving, would you take a few potatoes left in a field after harvest?

In the Stalin era, a person could be sent to the Gulag for up to ten years for such petty theft.

women in the gulag
Women in the Gulag
  • Suffering and violence
  • No consideration of special circumstances
the kolyma camps
The Kolyma Camps
  • Severity of Kolyma Region Camps
  • Them there gold in them fields
  • Conditions in Kolyma Camps
death in kolyma
Death in Kolyma

The newly-arrived prisoner transport saw even before being led through the door [that] every tent in the settlement was surrounded with piles of frozen corpses on three out of four sides, except where the door was (And this was not to terrify: people died, the snow was 2 meters deep, and beneath it was only permafrost.

quotes of stalin
Quotes of Stalin

You cannot make a revolution with silk gloves. Death is the solution to all problems. No man - no problem.

The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic.

the gulag archipelago alexander solzhenitsyn
The Gulag Archipelago – Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Do not pursue what is illusory–property, position, all that is gained at the expense of your nerves, decade after decade, and is confiscated in one fell night. Live with a steady superiority over life–don't be afraid of misfortune and do not yearn after happiness; it is, after all, all the same–the bitter doesn't last forever and the sweet never fills the cup to overflowing. It is enough if you don't freeze in the cold, if thirst and hunger don't claw at your insides. If your back isn't broken, if your feet can walk, if your arms bend, if both eyes can see, and if both ears can hear, then whom should you envy? And why? Our envy of others devours us most of all.

the gulag archipelago alexander solzhenitsyn1
The Gulag Archipelago – Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Rub your eyes and purify your heart–and prize above all else in the world those who love you and wish you well. Do not hurt them or scold them, and never part with them in anger; after all, you simply do not know, it may be your last act.

- Alexander Solzhenitsyn