The Struggle for Freedom

Image result for GULAG (Main Administration of Corrective Labor Camps)

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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6 thoughts on “The Struggle for Freedom

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  1. This is an interesting topic but it is kind of confusing and contradictory at times. If Khrushchev didn’t want to release too many common criminals why did he? And what would you say the impact of the Gulag and released Gulag prisoners was on Russian society? That might be an interesting question to come back to later for this article.


  2. I agree with Parker. Such an interesting topic but why did he give in to releasing the prisoners? I can understand his concerns. Why were these people criminals? Propably for good reasons which means you don’t want them on the streets. Perhaps a better idea was to improve the prisoners working conditions.


  3. I was curious of what the public response was to releasing the prisoners. I could imagine that this would give the country and influx of workers in a much needed time of change.


  4. I wrote my blog about GULAG’s too. While reading your post it was interesting to hear the different stances the leaders had during this time and how they shifted. Personally I believe that the men and women in these labor camps for petty little crimes should have been released.I wonder how much power Khrushchev had after they were granted amnesty even though he was against most of it. Great post!


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