The Gulags of the Soviet Union have been compared to the concentration camps of Nazi Germany, but in reality they were worse. The Gulags were isolated prison camps peppered across Siberia. Death, torture, and disease raged within their walls, while endless work went on outside. Gulag personnel were cruel and unfeeling, using terrible punishment methods and playing senseless games that cost prisoners their lives. Political enemies of the Bolshevik party made up a significant portion of the prisoner population, with most sent to the infamous camp system Kolyma. Liberation was painfully slow, but by 1960, all of the Gulags were gone.
The Gulags were called many things by the Soviet government, but when boiled down, they were essentially
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If the suspect denied their charges, the interrogator would tell them something like, “It doesn’t really matter. My job is to get a confession from you, and I’m going to do it. If you confess, you can save yourself a lot of pain, and you can save both of us plenty of time.” This was one of the few things in the Gulag that was completely true. If the accusation was still denied, the interrogator could do anything to the prisoner. They could do anything as small as using foul language to something as sadistic as sticking the prisoner in a cage with bedbugs that had been left to procreate for weeks. Either way, the confession would be made, and the convict was taken off to the Gulag to work.
Work in the Gulag was grueling. The prisoners were forced to work every hour of the day with little food and sleep. They would be forced to lay train tracks, work in the mines, or fell trees in the thick snow. By performing these tasks, the prisoners ran the risk of illness, freezing to death, or in the case of forestry, being crushed by a falling tree. There were ways for prisoners to get off of work, however. A popular practice in the Gulag was to commit Samorub. Samorub translates from Russian to “Self-inflicted wound.” Usually, a prisoner committing Samorub would do something that would impair their movement and stop their ability to work. Most ‘dropped’ an ax on their foot so they could not walk or ‘accidentally’ put a nail