Summary of the “Gulag Archipelago” Solzhenitsyn

The Gulag archipelago is a system of camps spread all over the country. The “aborigines” of this archipelago were people who had gone through arrest and an unjust trial. People were arrested, mostly at night, and half-dressed, confused, did not understand their guilt, thrown into a terrible meat grinder of camps.

The history of the Archipelago began in 1917 with the “Red Terror” declared by Lenin. This event became the “source” from which the camps were filled with “rivers” of innocently convicted people. At first, only the party members were imprisoned, but when Stalin came to power, loud processes began: the doctors, engineers, pests of the food industry, churchmen, the perpetrators of Kirov’s death. Behind the high-profile processes there were a lot of tacit affairs that replenished the Archipelago. In addition, many “enemies of the people” were arrested, whole nationalities got into exile, and the deported peasants were exiled by the villages. The war did not stop these flows, on the contrary, they intensified due to Russified Germans, spreaders of rumors and people who had been captured or rear. After the war, they were joined by emigrants and real traitors – Vlasovites and Cossacks-Krasnovtsy.

The basis for all arrests was the Fifty-eighth article, consisting of fourteen points, with terms of imprisonment of 10, 15, 20 and 25 years. Ten years were given only to children. The purpose of the investigation in the 58th was not to prove the guilt, but to break the will of the person. For this, torture was widely used, which was limited only by the investigator’s imagination. The protocols of the investigation were drawn up in such a way that the arrested involuntarily pulled others behind him. Alexander Solzhenitsyn passed through such an investigation. In order not to harm others, he signed an indictment condemning him to a ten-year imprisonment and an eternal reference.

The very first punitive body was the Revolutionary Tribunal, created in 1918. Its members had the right to shoot “traitors” without trial. He turned into the Cheka, then to the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, from which the NKVD was born. The shootings did not last long. The death penalty was abolished in 1927 and left only for the 58th. In 1947, Stalin replaced the “supreme measure” for 25 years of the camps – the country needed slaves.

The very first “island” of the Archipelago arose in 1923 on the site of the Solovetsky Monastery. Then there were TONS – special purpose prisons and milestones. People got to the Archipelago in various ways: in wagon-zakah, on barges, steamships and on foot stages. Arrested in prisons in “funnels” – black wagons. The role of the ports of the Archipelago was played by shipments, temporary camps consisting of tents, dugouts, huts or plots of land under the open sky. On all shipments to keep “political” in the bridle, they helped specially selected witches, or “socially close”. Solzhenitsyn visited the dispatch of Krasnaya Presnya in 1945.

Emigrants, peasants and “small nations” were transported by red echelons. Most often such echelons stopped in an empty place, in the middle of the steppe or taiga, and the convicts themselves built the camp. Especially important prisoners, mostly scientists, were transported by special convoys. So they transported Solzhenitsyn. He called himself a nuclear physicist, and after Krasnaya Presnya he was transported to Butyrki.

The law on forced labor was adopted by Lenin in 1918. Since then, the “aborigines” of the Gulag have been used as a free labor force. The correctional labor camps were united in the GUMZak (Main Office of the Place of Conclusion), and which was born Gulag (General Administration of the Camps). The most terrible places of the Archipelago were the ELEPHORS – Northern Camps of Special Purpose – including Solovki.

Even more difficult was imprisonment after the introduction of five-year plans. Until 1930, only about 40% of “Aboriginal people” worked. The first five-year plan marked the beginning of “great construction projects.” The main lines, railways and canals were built by the bare hands, without equipment and money. People worked 12-14 hours a day, deprived of normal food and warm clothes. These buildings took thousands of lives.

Without escape it was not without, but it was almost impossible to run “into the void,” not hoping for help. The population living outside the camps practically did not know what was happening behind the barbed wire. Many sincerely believed that the “political” were actually guilty. In addition, for catching the runaways from the camp paid well.

By 1937 the Archipelago had grown to the whole country. Camps for the 38th appeared in Siberia, the Far East and Central Asia. Each camp was ruled by two chiefs: one supervised the production, the other – the workforce. The main way to influence the “Aboriginal people” was the “boiler” – the distribution of soldering according to the norm. When the “kotlovka” stopped helping, brigades were created. For failure to fulfill the plan, the brigadier was put in a punishment cell. All this Solzhenitsyn fully experienced in the camp of New Jerusalem, where he fell on August 14, 1945.

The life of the “aborigine” consisted of hunger, cold and endless work. The main work for prisoners was felling, which during the war was called “dry shooting”. Zeki lived in tents or dugouts where it was impossible to dry wet clothes. These dwellings were often searched, and people were suddenly transferred to other jobs. In such conditions prisoners quickly turned into “goners”. The camp unit practically did not participate in the life of the prisoners. So, in the Burepoloma camp in February, 12 people died every night, and their things again went into action.

Female inmates tolerated prison more easily than men, and died faster in the camps. The most beautiful took themselves camp authorities and “assholes”, the rest went to general work. If a woman became pregnant, she was sent to a special camp. The mother, who had finished breastfeeding, went back to the camp, and the child was taken to the orphanage. In 1946, women’s camps were established, and women’s felling was abolished. Sitting in the camps and “kids”, children under 12 years. For them, too, there were separate colonies. Another “character” of the camps was a camp “moron,” a man who managed to get an easy job and a warm, full-bodied place. Basically, they survived.

By 1950, the... camps were filled with “enemies of the people.” There were also real political people among them, who, even on the Archipelago, organized strikes, unfortunately, ineffectual – they were not supported by public opinion. The Soviet people did not know anything at all, and on this was the Gulag. Some prisoners, however, remained faithful to the party and Stalin to the last. It was from such orthodoxes that snitchers or seksoty – the eyes and ears of the Cheka-KGB – were obtained. Tried to recruit and Solzhenitsyn. He signed the commitment, but did not deal with it.

A person who lived to the end of the term, rarely fell free. Most often he became a “repeater”. Prisoners had only to escape. Caught fugitives were punished. The Corrective Labor Code of 1933, which was in force until the early 1960s, banned insulators. By this time, other types of intrapersonal punishment were invented: RURs (Strengthened Regime Company), BURy (Strengthened Regime Brigades), ZURs (Strengthened Regime Zones) and Shizo (Penalty Isolators).

Each camp zone was surrounded by the village. Many villages eventually turned into big cities, such as Magadan or Norilsk. Prilagerny world inhabited the families of officers and supervisors, priests, and many different adventurers and rascals. Despite the free labor, the camps cost the state very dearly. In 1931, the Archipelago was transferred to self-sufficiency, but nothing came of it, because the guards had to be paid, and the chiefs of the camps – to steal.

Stalin did not stop at the camps. On April 17, 1943, he imposed hard labor and a gallows. The penal camps were created at the mines, and this was the most terrible work. Women were condemned to hard labor. In general, traitors became traitors: policemen, burgomasters, “German litter”, but before that they were also Soviet people. The difference between the camp and penal servitude began to disappear by 1946. In 1948 a certain alloy of the camp and penal servitude was created – the Special Camps. In them sat all 58th. Prisoners were called by numbers and given the hardest work. Solzhenitsyn went to the special camp of Steppe, then – Ekibastuz.

Insurrections and strikes of prisoners also occurred in special camps. The very first uprising took place in the camp near Ust-Usa in the winter of 1942. The excitement arose because in the special camps only “political” were gathered. Solzhenitsyn himself also participated in the 1952 strike.

Each “native” of the Archipelago after the expiry of the term was waiting for a reference. Until 1930, it was a “minus”: the released one could choose his place of residence, except for some cities. After 1930, the link became a separate type of isolation, and from 1948 it became a layer between the zone and the rest of the world. Every exile at any time could again be in the camp. Some of them were immediately given a term in the form of a link – mostly to dekulakized peasants and small nations. Solzhenitsyn ended his term in the Kok-Terek region of Kazakhstan. The link from the 58th began to be removed only after the XX Congress. Liberation was also difficult to survive. The man changed, became a stranger to his loved ones, and had to hide his past from friends and colleagues.

The history of the Special Camps continued after Stalin’s death. In 1954, they merged with ITL, but did not disappear. After his release, Solzhenitsyn began receiving letters from the modern “natives” of the Archipelago, who convinced him: the Gulag will exist as long as the system that created it exists.

Peredkazala Julia Peskovaya

The Gulag archipelago is a system of camps spread all over the country. The beginning of the history of the Archipelago, begins in 1917 with the announced “Red Terror”. This was the beginning. Initially, the camps included Ino-Party members, but from Stalin’s reign there were loud processes, such as: the case of doctors and engineers. Since the beginning of the war, the number of “natives” has only increased, well, after the war, prisoners, emigrants were added to them.

The reason for the arrest was Article 58, according to which convicts received 10, 15, 20 and 25 years imprisonment. Article 58 did not prove guilt, this article served to break the will of man. Protocols were written in such a way that the accused involuntarily pulled the others behind him. One of those convicted was Alexander Solzhenitsyn, he was given 10 years of imprisonment and an eternal exile. Peasants and emigrants were transported by red echelons. Often, such echelons stopped in an empty place, and the convicts had to build the camp themselves. Especially important prisoners, such as scientists, were transported by a special escort, Solzhenitsyn fell into it, he was considered a nuclear physicist, first he gets to Krasnaya Polyana, and then to Butyrki.

Particularly difficult for people was after the introduction of five-year plans. Prisoners built with their bare hands roads, roads, canals. They worked for 12 hours, not having normal food and clothes, at that time thousands of lives were lost.

Many tried to escape, but no one helped them at large. Everyone believed that they had been convicted fairly, and besides, they had paid well for the runaways. Over time, the Archipelago grew throughout the country.

In 1945, Solzhenitsyn enters the New Jerusalem camp. Prisoners lived without food and clothing, and the main work consisted of logging. They lived in tents where there was no way to dry clothes. Sancha practically did not treat prisoners. So, in the Burepoloma camp in February, 12 people died during the night.

Prison women were easier to carry than men, but in the camps they died faster. Soviet people did not know anything about what is really happening, and the GULag (General Administration of the Camps) held on to this. If the prisoner lived to the end of the term, he rarely fell into the wild, he usually became a “repeat”. Solzhenitsyn ended his term in the Kok-Terek region of Kazakhstan. The link from the 58th began to be removed only after the XX Congress.

After the release, people had to be very hard, they became different. They had to hide what was happening to them. Already at large, Solzhenitsyn received letters from the Archipelago, which convinced him that the Gulag would exist as long as the system that created it existed.


Summary of the “Gulag Archipelago” Solzhenitsyn