Tag Archives: Stalin

Russia’s Gulags Remembered

In this excellent  piece entitled Russia’s Gulag camps cast in forgiving light of Putin nationalism Shaun Walker of the Guardian explains “many Russians regard the horrors of the forced labour camps as a necessary evil during a difficult period of Soviet history”. The article continues: In today’s Russia it is not fashionable to delve too deeply into Gulag history, and 60-year-old Panikarov’s collection is one of just two museums devoted entirely to the Gulag in the whole country. Indeed, even Panikarov himself has a somewhat surprising view of the Gulag system. “We should not have one-sided evaluations. People fell in love in the camps, people got pregnant; it wasn’t all bad,” he says, attributing negative information about the camps to a western campaign against Russia. “It was fashionable to say bad things about the USSR. Now it is again fashionable to insult Russia. We have sanctions against us. The west looks for negative things.” Panikarov’s views on the Gulag are part of a larger trend. With the Soviet victory in the second world war elevated to a national rallying point under Vladimir Putin’s presidency, the forced labour camps, through which millions of Soviet citizens passed, are seen by many as an unfortunate but necessary by-product. Continue reading