One of the most significant events to happen after Stalin’s death, was the release of prisoners from camps ran by the GULAG (Main Administration of Corrective Labor Camps). While the road of succession was full of challenges and awards, the release of prisoners created a new chapter for those who lost hope and faith in life. However, many of these prisoners were not allowed to go home upon their release, unfortunately.
The Soviet GULAG forced labor camps became an important resource for many industries: railways and roads, mining operations, and the timber industries. Because of how these prisoners were forced to work in inhumane conditions, it created mental and psychological damage that would stay with these people for the rest of their lives; ultimately, creating a social barrier. These prisoners were a perfect example of the injustices that resulted under Stalin’s reign.
Under Khrushchev, however, he did not agree with the release of these prisoners because he believed that it was too many criminals being released onto the streets. With political beliefs challenging one another, Lavrentii Beria and Khrushchev did not see eye to eye on this ‘liberal’ idea of civility. On page 410, Freeze writes, ” Within days of Stalin’s death, he not only spoke of the need to protect civil rights but even arranged an amnesty on 27 March that released many prisoners (too many common criminals, in Khrushchev’s view), incuding some people associated with the elite.” While there was a shifting political stance within the GULAG, it actually started to reveal the flaws within Stalinism; this became important when dismantling the Stalinist system that was currently in place.
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