Talk:Gulag

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Errors[edit]

The introduction of this article says "Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who spent eleven years in the Gulag....". This is categorically wrong. He was sentenced to eight years. He was released a few weeks before the end of his sentence when he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. He was arrested in late January 1945 and was freed into internal exile in Tashkent where he was to seek treatment for his cancer in very early 1953; he had only been out a few days when news of Stalin's death was announced. Stalin died March 5, 1953. He discussed this in his autobiography, The Oak and the Calf. 135.23.68.111 (talk) 20:44, 20 September 2015 (UTC)

Fixed. - üser:Altenmann >t 04:28, 22 September 2015 (UTC)

Also in the introduction, there is a passage that says "Some scholars support this view, [4][5] though it is controversial, considering that with the obvious exception of the war years, a very large majority of people who entered the Gulag left alive.[6]" Solzhenitsyn declares in The Gulag Archipelago that only 1 in 7 of the people who entered the Gulag left alive. Given the extremely harsh conditions that Solzhenitsyn describes - extremely long work days, very poor nutrition, working 7 days a week in conditions as cold as 70C below zero, minimal warm clothing, very dangerous work, etc. etc. - it's a wonder to me that ANYONE survived. The idea that the vast majority of prisoners survived seems extremely dubious to me unless Solzhenitsyn has been utterly debunked as an absolute fantasist. 135.23.68.111 (talk) 20:51, 20 September 2015 (UTC)

Sorry, like most in the West, you are thoroughly confused. Gulag gained its notoriety primarily in the context of political repression. While in fact it was a regular penal system, for every Ivan, Semyon and Igor. What is more, it was seen mostly though the eyes of intelligentsia; you would not expect that Anton Pipkin, a kolkhoz tractorist who got 5 year of camps for drunk drowning of his tractor in a swamp, would write a heart-breaking memoir. While the mortality among "former people" and former Party bosses was indeed high, ordinary Russian kolkhozniks and plant workers were pretty much durable. And the evidence is the very Solzhenitsyn's Ivan Denisovich. Finally, not all Gulag camps were in Kolyma, Norilsk and Magadan. If you happen to look at the map, the majority of "major camps" are in Eastern Siberia. And even more minor ones were smeared pretty much evenly over all populated territory of the USSR. Therefore, taken together, the overall statistics was not so deadly as in the extreme cases. Once again, you may read Solzhenitsyn himself that some camps were like resorts, compared to others. For example, the notorious "Solovki" were one of them. On a personal memoir, one of my grand-relative spent 10 years in Donbass mines whereto we was "volunteeringly recruited" as a young idealistic Komsomol member, and 5 years of Gulag logging. An he used to say he would readily swap 1 year of underground Stakhanovite work for 3 years in Komi taiga any time. - üser:Altenmann >t 04:28, 22 September 2015 (UTC)

Graph[edit]

Gulag prisoner population statistics from 1934 to 1953[1][2]

The page includes graph with population statistics of prisoners in Gulag. This graph presents data essentially as a fact, even though these data are disputable. For example, according to review by Steven Rosefielde (e.g. here, published in 1996),

"The counter-argumet to the authenticity of the NKVD documents has been elaborated by Laqueur. He and others point out that the KGB and military archives remain completely closed, together with most of the NKVD records, except those suspiciously available in the Central State Archive of the October Revolution of the USSR (TsGAOR), now part of the State Archive of the Russian Federation (GARF), and he infers that they are disinformative, being either fabrications or incomplete."l This allegation is supported by statements of various senior officials that the scale of mass killings by the NKVD was many times greater than the documents purport, and by suggestions as to where the missing millions may be concealed.... Although no summary judgment on this important matter is yet possible, it can be conclusively shown, contrary to the claims of Getty, Rittersporn & Zemskov and of Wheatcroft, that the documents are seriously internally inconsistent."...

and

"The NKVD custodial contingent in the 1937 census was 2.75 million (Conquest, 1991a), which is 56.5% greater than the combined Gulag camp and colony populations, respectively 820 881 and 375 488 for 1 January 1937 reported in Getty, Rittersporn & Zemskov, 1993, p. 1048.

So, I suggest to remove this graph. My very best wishes (talk) 03:52, 9 November 2015 (UTC)

This is a very sad stats. There are both pro and contra arguments which estimates are best; at least today we experts don't have consensus. Therefore it makes sense for wikipedia to provide different opinions. As for this graph, regardless absolute numbers, IMO it shows reasonably correct dynamics. And dynamics is the major purpose of graph visualization. As long as the graph is based on consistent sources and properly attributed, IMO it is no WP:SYNTH, and we know there is no absolute WP:TRUTH. - üser:Altenmann >t 04:44, 9 November 2015 (UTC)

But where this graph came from and based on what numbers? It uses this reference, but I do not see it there. My very best wishes (talk) 14:44, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
Actually it uses two references. And more numbers are in the first one: J. ARCH GETTY, GABOR T. RITTERSPORN, and VIKTOR N. ZEMSKOV, Victims of the Soviet Penal System in the Pre-war Years:A First Approach on the Basis of Archival Evidence. - üser:Altenmann >t 16:42, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
I assume this suppose to be Figure C from this source, but the numbers on the Figure are different. My very best wishes (talk) 17:51, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
concur. - üser:Altenmann >t 03:58, 10 November 2015 (UTC)

References

  1. ^ Archived December 28, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ "Демографические потери от репрессий". Demoscope.ru. Retrieved 2011-12-19. 

External links modified[edit]

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External links modified[edit]

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Should MVD special camp be merged with this article?[edit]

In that article, it states that the camps were somehow associated with the Gulag. I'm not an expert, but I'm not sure it warrants an article of its' own. Correct me if I'm wrong. Verified Cactus (talk) 00:01, 9 September 2016 (UTC)