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Gulag Display Powerfully Illustrates Forced Labor Camp Era in Soviet Russia

January 28, 2009

Gulag: History of a Camp is a traveling display currently located in the Meramec campus Library. It is on loan from the Gulag Museum at Perm-36 in Russia until February 28. The display tells the story of the longest surviving forced labor camp built under Joseph Stalin.

Located near the city of Perm in the village of Kutschino, Russia, Perm-36 served initially as a regular timber production labor camp. Later, the camp became a particularly isolated and severe facility for high government officials. In 1972, it served as the primary facility in the country for persons charged with political crimes. Many of the Soviet Union’s prominent dissidents, including Vladimir Bukovsky, Sergei Kovalev and Anatoly Marchenko, served their sentences there. This camp remained open until 1987, when President Mikhail Gorbachev declared it closed as part of Glasnost, making it the last of over 12,000 labor camps to close its doors.

Admission to the exhibit is free and open to the public. Library hours are
M-Th. 7:30 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Fri. 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sat. 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sun. 1 - 5 p.m.
Note: The library will be closed Feb. 16 for President's Day

The Gulag Museum at Perm-36 preserves, documents and interprets this camp, establishing it as a historic site that serves as a memorial museum of the history of political repression and totalitarianism the former Soviet Union. The Museum also seeks to promote democratic values and civic consciousness. Today, Perm-36 stands as the best-preserved reminder of Soviet oppression. It is believed to be the only intact camp left.

This traveling display is co-presented by Midwest Institute, a consortium established in 1992 under Title VI funding from the U.S. Department of Education as a consortium of two-year colleges for the purpose of expanding or strengthening international-intercultural education.