During the Stalin era from the 1930s to the 1950s there were Soviet forced labor camps. These labor camps held a wide range of prisoners from petty criminals to political prisoners. Political prisoners were considered to be enemies of the Soviet government. Even some prisoners those “convicted of economic and military crimes regardless of their terms of imprisonment, women with children under 10 years of age or who were pregnant, juveniles up to age 18, men over 55 years of age and women over 50 years of age, and convicts suffering from incurable diseases (Geldom).” Unfortunately, most of the prisoners who were sent to Gulag prison camps were innocent and was not even given a trail. The first movement of post-Stalin act was issued by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on March 27, 1953 (Geldom). This idea of having labor/prison camps was considered to be an old tradition used under Vladimir Lenin. On that day in March of 1953 over a million people were released from these camps. These Russian citizens were used and abused by being put in these labor camps. The camps were used because they made significant contributions to the Soviet economy during the Stalin period because they served as a source of free labor to the economic projects. After these, all the prisoners within a three month period were released they were never really allowed to join the normal Russian society again. Some prisoners were able to live better lives after they were released because of the secret speech of Khrushchev in February 1956 to the 20th Party of Congress. Only after this speech these prisoners were able to get rehabilitation help. Much came out of this incident including music, book, and art. One of the most famous books from this awful situation was called The Gulag Archipelago,written by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. This book ended up winning a Noble prize.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn photo from (Photo from http://federacia.ru/)
Author: James von Geldern