watching over the 'enemies of the people'
(c) 1999 John Borneman
& Linda Fisher, All Rights Reserved
An abandoned guard tower in one of hundreds
of gulags (prison camps) across the Soviet Union, remains as a symbol
of profound human suffering. First instituted by Lenin to imprison
priests, political opponents, and common criminals, Stalin was then
responsible for sending 12-15 million people to these camps. The
prisoners were used as forced labor to work on massive industrial
projects. As more laborers were needed for bigger projects and those
falling behind schedule, Stalin justified the arrests of more people
to be sent to the gulags. Millions were executed in these camps
or perished as they labored on massive modernization schemes. It
is said of the Siberian railroad project that the work was never
done, nothing was achieved and it went nowhere.
Sound: excerpt from an American film
newsreel (`1940) extolling Stalin's great friendship with the people.
At the time, Russia was an American ally against mounting Axis aggression.
(credit: National Archives, USA)
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