Perm-36

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Perm-36 (also known as ITK-6) was a Soviet forced labor camp located near the village of Kuchino,[1] 100 km northeast of the city of Perm in Russia, part of the large prison camp system run by the Soviet Union (now Russia) in the Stalin era known as the Gulag.[2][3] Built in 1946[1] and closed December 1987,[1] the camp was preserved as a museum in 1994[2] by the private Russian human rights organization Memorial[4] and since 1995[2] has been open to the public as The Museum of the History of Political Repression Perm-36[2] (known popularly as the Gulag Museum)[2] operated by the private non-commercial organization Memorial Center of Political Repression "Perm-36"[2] It is the only remaining example of a Gulag labor camp, the others having been demolished by the Soviet government at the dissolution of the Soviet Union.[1]

During recent years, the museum has seen a withdrawal of support and funding by regional government organizations, which forced it to close in April 2014. Coming during a period of renewed popularity and nostalgia in Russia for the Soviet era and patriotism due to the Crimean crisis, this is seen by many as an organized campaign against the Museum.

The museum receives an average 35,000 visitors a year.[2] It was a founding member of the International Coalition of Historic Sites of Conscience.[2] In 2004, the World Monuments Fund included Perm 36 in its Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites.

The fence at the old GULag in Perm-36.JPG

Description[edit]

From the "Perm-36" Museum English brochure:

The "Perm-36" camp operated for more than 40 years. It was founded in 1943. In 1946 it was transferred to its current location. Till 1953 it served as a typical logging camp found throughout the country. After Stalin‘s death, the camp was converted to house officials of the repressive organs accused of organizing "groundless repressions" under the Stalinist regime. In 1972 the camp was converted into the harshest political camp of the country and operated till it closed in 1988. There was a special regime facility, the only one of its kind in the country, to house political prisoners in twenty-four-hour closed cells They continued their intellectual struggle against the regime and its ideology after release from their first prison terms and were considered to be especially dangerous by the State. All of them, as a rule, were sentenced to 10 years.

During two and a half decades, since the end of the 1920s and till the day of Stalin‘s death, GULAG [official abbreviation for "MainAdministration of Camps"] was not only a huge camp agency containing thousands of camps and millions of convicts, but the country‘s way of life. GULAG was an absolutely necessary element of the system. Without the GULAG cheap slave labour, Stalin‘s socialist modernization programme of the country‘s economy would have been impossible. Without the total fear in the face of the horrors of repression and camps, the totalitarian regime and strict discipline and total subjection for those "at liberty" would have also been impossible. After the death of Stalin the number of camps in the USSR decreased, but the communist political system remained repressive till its collapse. In 1960-80s thousands of dissidents were placed in prisons, political camps, mental hospitals.

"Perm-36" Memorial Museum is the only preserved саmр of the GULAG еrа throughout the former USSR. The museum presents аll the periods of the repressive роliсу and the USSR penitentiary system history starting from the first years of Soviet power and theGULAG to the ending of political camps and political prisoners оn the еvе of the communist system collapse. Exposition, exhibition, and authentic саmр interiors аrе placed in different саmр buildings and structures, the latter were constructed and reconstructed during 1946-80. The museum finds, collects, and studies various materials оn the history of political repression. The museum's exhibitions аrе displayed in different regions of Russia and abroad.

The Museum is located near the village of Kuchino, Chusovoy district, Perm region.[5]

Reconstruction of one of the prisoner barracks
Main building

In 2004, the World Monuments Fund included "Perm-36" in the list of 100 protected monuments of world culture. Currently, there is a procedure for incorporating the museum as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Since 2005, every year "Perm -36" an international forum takes place, "Pilorama" ("The Sawmill" (more precisely "Power-saw bench") ru:Пилорама (форум), with meetings with famous people, film screenings, exhibitions and concerts. It attracts thousands of people, including former prisoners and human rights activists, including the Human Rights Commissioner in Russia Vladimir Lukin. The "Sawmill" is criticized and attacked by former prison guards of Perm-36 and some of the social movements of Stalinist focus. They argue that the forum organizers deliberately embellished the severity of custody "for anti-Soviet propaganda", while ignoring, as they said, prison records and evidence of the guards themselves.[6]

In autumn 2013 an autonomous non-commercial organization "Memorial Museum of the History of Political Repression "Perm- 36" has received the status of a federal non-commercial organization and its museum was included in the list of Russian national places of remembrance.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d ""Perm-36" Soviet political repression camp (GULAG) & Chusovaya History Museum excursion". Ural tours. Krasnov Travel Agency, Perm, Russia. 2014. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "The museum of history of political repressions "Perm-36"". Official web page. Russian Cultural Heritage Network. 2012. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Gulag Museum at Perm-36". List of founders. International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, New York. 2014. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  4. ^ Stanley, Alessandra (October 29, 1997). "Lest Russians forget, a museum of the Gulag". New York Times (New York: The New York Times Co.). 
  5. ^ [1] Museum Perm-36
  6. ^ [2] "Sawmill"