2.25 Class Notes ?We Reforged these People By Means of Labor? Marxist ideology belives that, given time, criminals can be reformed by honest manual labor. The Soviets were not particularly focused on the reform, but rather on placing dissidents in centralized areas where they can be monitored and gaining what was essentially a slave labor force. Norilsk and Vorkuta became major labor camp cities. 1918-1928-Origins of the first camps (Solovki). About 100,000 prisoners 1929-1953-Stalinist phase. Camp System becomes a huge part of the Soviet State, millions of prisoners, but with a great deal of inflow and outflow 1953-1958-Kruschev begins dismantling much of the labor camp system down to about 100,000 prisoners Penal Institutions No Death Camps Labor Camps-more stationary than colonies, usually project-oriented and were dismantled when the project was completed Labor Colonies ?focused on labor battalions, sometimes mobile. Assigned as supplements to various projects. Within the security police, the gulag controls the administration of camps Legal Issues Some of the people put into the camps were criminals and some political prisoners. Political prisoners were mostly put into the camp system via Article 58. Troikas were the kangaroo courts, basically approving any punishment for anyone. The First Five-Year Plan is when the labor system swells dramatically, first with kulaks and class enemies. The Great Terror provides millions more laborers. During World War II, a great number of conquered peoples are put into the camps Post-war, collaborators and POWs are put into the labor camps. Repatriated Soviet citizens were often put into Soviet labor camps! Destalinization Camp numbers peaked in the late 40s. Revolutions were increasingly common. 1953 amnesty given (excluding politicals) Vorkuta and Norilsk rebellions. Many of these prisoners were ex-Red Army men who had been freed from German concentration camps only to be put in Soviet Labor camps. Ukrainian nationalists led guerilla warfare against the Soviets, making Soviet officers targets of suspicion 1956 Khrushecn?s ?secret speech? triggers mass relase of ?political? 1958: Camps go back to Leninist proportions as regime declares return to ?norms of socialist legality? 1962 Solzhenitsyn?s One Day in the Life Conclusion Camps varied in size, from a few hundred to hundreds of thousands of prisoners.94% of prisoners were male 85% are between 19-40 years of age 60% Russian, 17% Ukrainian,%5 Belarusians Stratification: criminals vs. political Mythology of reforging The camps have very, very high mortality rates. These camps made some sense in the brute labor area early on, but by the 1950s this was no longer useful
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