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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

Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Center’s Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at today’s Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nation’s premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the city’s elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s latest film “Mommy” at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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