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Hopes for Abandoned Gulag Camps to Attract Tourists

Published: March 31, 2014 (Issue # 1803)



  • Remains of a Gulag near Magadan.
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The republic of Sakha's numerous Gulag camps, built in the Soviet period and now abandoned, could in the future become "a postcard for attracting tourists," Sakha republic tourism minister Yekaterina Kormilitsyna said, Colta.ru reported.

A meeting of the Sakha republic's tourism ministry last week recommended that the republic take steps to construct tourist camps at the sites of the Dalstroi, Yanstroi, and Senduchensky Gulags.

Gulag, an acronym referring the government body that administered the Soviet system of prison camps, describes a type of forced labor camp used to hold criminals and political prisoners from 1934-1960. Typically located in remote regions, Gulags put prisoners to work at tasks like mining, logging, and basic manufacturing.

According to maps available from Memorial, the republic of Sakha was home to 13 Gulags, while the neighboring Magadan Oblast was home to considerably more. Of the Sakha camps, the Dalstroi Gulag was among the largest: Between 1932 and 1954, 859,911 prisoners entered the camp, 121,256 of whom died during their time there.

While some former Gulags have been adapted for use as prisons, many of them now stand empty. Kormylitsyna noted that the remote location of the republic of Sakha's Gulags put them in the midst of pristine wilderness and offered the possibility for developing ecotourism.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during today’s Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the center’s Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonight’s performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Center’s Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodina’s website for more details.



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