Presentation on theme: "The Establishment of Gulags By Tania & Olympia Tania Olympia."— Presentation transcript:
The Establishment of Gulags By Tania & Olympia Tania Olympia
Origins of Gulags Acronym for The Chief Administration of Corrective Labor Camps and Colonies of the NKVD that operated the Soviet system of forced labor camps in the Stalin era. At least 476 separate camps, some of them comprising hundreds, even thousands of camp units. Created in the Soviet Union shortly after the 1917 revolution System grew to tremendous proportions during the course of Stalin’s campaign in order to turn the Soviet Union into a modern industrial power and to collectivize agriculture in the early 1930s.
Astonishing facts On the eve of the 1917 revolution, 28,600 convicts were serving sentences of hard labor. In the 19th century the Russian government deported around 1.2 million prisoners to Siberia.Siberia About 30 per cent of the prisoners in the worst labor camp in Kolyma died each year It is estimated that around 50 million perished in Soviet gulags between 1930 and 1950. The total population of the camps varied from 510,307 (in 1934) to 1,727,970 (in 1953) In the construction of the White Sea-Baltic Sea Canal over 100,000 prisoners dug a 141-mile canal with few tools other than simple pickaxes, shovels, and makeshift wheelbarrows in just 20 months
Gulags Role in maintaining Stalin’s Dictatorship The Gulags played an important role in assisting Stalin to maintain his power and cult personality to the people of the USSR. http://gulaghistory.org/exhibits/days-and-lives Gulags had a four point role 1.Easy removal of political enemies of Stalin and catharsis of government from the lowlifes (thieves, rapist, murders) 2.Promotion the First-Five Year Plan (Industrialization of Russia) 3.Increase of domestic product to make USSR an independent power 4.Propaganda to increase idea of War Communism and Ideology of Stalin leader.
1. Removal of Enemies Gulag held political prisoners, a group including not only real opponents of the Soviet regime but also many innocents caught up in the paranoid clutches of the Soviet secret police. The major famine in the USSR led to many cases of thievery and violence. The force of collectivation and War Communism led many land owners to opposition and retaliation that ultimately led to their imprison and exile to the Gulags. The idea of only one communist party running for elections had as a result disapprovals, emotional outbursts and what the Soviets recalled as “Anti-Communist” Behavior.
Kulaks- The Rich Peasants Stalin believed the Kulak to be the most likely to oppose his plans of collectivization. He divided them into three groups. Trial of so-called “rich peasants” in 1929, was Stalin’s drive to seize all private land in the 1920s and 1930s met significant resistance. Some victims were shot, some were arrested and sent into the Gulag camps, and many were exiled to remote parts of the country.
Maria Tchebotareva 1932-1933 famine tried to feed her children The peasant mother allegedly stole three pounds of rye from her former field—confiscated by the state as part of collectivization. Soviet authorities sentenced her to ten years in the Gulag. When her sentence expired in 1943, it was arbitrarily extended until the end of the war in 1945. After her release, she was required to live in exile near her Gulag camp north of the Arctic Circle, and she was not able to return home until 1956, after the death of Stalin. Maria Tchebotareva never found her children after her release. The Thieves
Improper Behavior Ivan Burylov -Seeking the appearance of democracy, the Soviet Union held elections, but only one Communist Party candidate appeared on the ballot for each office. - Fear of punishment ensured that nearly all Soviet citizens “voted” by taking their ballot and ceremoniously placing it into a ballot box. -In 1949, Ivan Burylov, a beekeeper, protested this absurd ritual by writing the word “Comedy” on his “secret” ballot. -Soviet authorities linked the ballot to Burylov and sentenced him to eight years in camps for this “crime.”
2. Promotion of Five-Year Plan (Industrialization of Russia) Radical measure to transform country from an agrarian into an industrial country, capable by its own means of producing the necessary equipment was promoted by the establishment of Gulags. Stalin used the vast amount of prisoners to his advantage. Turning them into virtual slave laborers, prisoners completed huge architectural projects including, the White Sea-Baltic Canal, the Moscow-Volga Canal, the Baikal-Amur main railroad line, numerous hydroelectric stations, and hundreds of roads and industrial complexes in highly remote regions of Siberia and northern Russia.
White Sea-Baltic Canal In the late 1920’s Stalin felt that a canal linking the White Sea to the Baltic Sea would be highly beneficial to the developing USSR. In 1931 Over 100,000 prisoners dug a 141-mile canal with few tools other than simple pickaxes, shovels, and makeshift wheelbarrows in just 20 months.. By 1936 plans to widen the canal were completed. This expansion project would have cost many more lives. These lives, like the lives lost in the original project, were bartered from the Russian system of forced labor camps, called the Gulag.
3. Increase of domestic product The prisoners were also used in the extraction of coal, copper, and gold from dangerous mines and in the lumbering industries of the vast Siberian forests. Stalin constantly increased the number of domestic projects, which increased the need for more prisoners from the Gulag. Prisoners were even contracted out to private industries. In the end hundreds of thousands of men lost their lives in these economic and domestic projects. A single day often included fourteen to eighteen hours of work.
Working and Living Conditions After eleven and a half hours of labor (not including time needed to assign a task, receive tools and give them back), Professor Kozyrev commented: ‘How far Man is still from perfection. Just to think how many people and what minds are needed to do a job of one horse.’”“In this case the four incompetent workers were: Epifanov, who was until the Great Purge of 1937 a professor of Marxism-Leninism in the Academy of Mining in Moscow; Colonel Ivanov, a chief of a major Red Army division; Professor Kozyrev, director of research at the Pulkovo Space Observatory in Leningrad; and myself, a secret agent of the Comintern.”
Account Tamara Petkevich – All of those years, we were hungry, cold and loaded down with impossible physical labor—forestry, digging, breaking rock, in other words, we returned to the barracks so weakened, knowing that at 5:00 in the morning, they would bang on the rails again, which meant that we would have to wake up for roll call and we would have to line up and put on our wet clothes that hadn’t dried out from the previous day, and go back out to the woods. Nikolai Getman – Most of all, we dug mine shafts. But before we dug the shafts, we had to conduct exploratory digs. 2 meters, 3 meters, 4 meters, 5 meters. But you’ve got to realize that this is a permafrost region. Permafrost! We were working with stone, granite. All the labor was done by hand with pickaxes. All the debris had to be removed by hand. This was exhausting labor. Picks had to be sharpened and hardened, yet they never were.
Living Conditions Jacques Rossi -the artist -spent 19 years in the Gulag after he was arrested in the Stalin purges of 1936-37. -Published several writings, including his most important, The Gulag Handbook, in 1987 (published in English in 1989). -“The Gulag was conceived in order to transform human matter into a docile, exhausted, ill-smelling mass of individuals living only for themselves and thinking of nothing else but how to appease the constant torture of hunger, living in the instant, concerned with nothing apart from evading kicks, cold and ill treatment.”
Varlam Shalamov Russian Imprisoned in the Gulag for more than 20 years Wrote the celebrated Kolyma Tales, a series of short stories based on his life in the Gulag. "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...“
4. Propaganda Command Economy- result of the First First-Year Plan, because the Plan sets targets of the output which workers were expected to achieve and since these forces had the force of government orders, workers had to achieve them or face punishment. Therefore, the Russian economy became command economy Soviet authorities presented their camps as the world’s most progressive penal institution—at the forefront of a shift away from punishing and to reeducating prisoners. Camp newspapers, propaganda posters, political speeches, theatrical productions, film showings, literacy classes—these were just a few of the ways in which camp authorities sought to convince their prisoners of the educational aspects of Gulag life.
Propaganda and Promoting Stalin Image Over many Gulag camp gates, a slogan declared: “Labor in the USSR is a matter of honor, glory, courage and heroism.” In the barracks, posters screamed, “Glory to Stalin, the Greatest Genius of Mankind. ”At the work place, banners urged, “More Gold for Our Country, More Gold for Victory!” These proclamations of the glories of socialism, the heroism of Soviet labor, and the possibilities of reeducation and reintegration into Soviet society sat uneasily in an environment saturated with death and deprivation. Millions survived their Gulag, but they would have laughed at the notion that they were re-educated. Most would have used words such as “traumatized,” “brutalized,” or “disfigured”— terms not featured on the propaganda posters.
Poster Soviet Propaganda Poster “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!”
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