Stalin’s Political Repressions and the Soviet GULAG with Vadim Malinovsky

Stalin’s Political Repressions and the Soviet GULAG with Vadim Malinovsky


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Stalin’s political repressions and GULAG (an abbreviation of Glavnoe Upravlenie Ispravitel-no-trudovykh Lagerei) is a limitless topic. This conversation will cover the history of Soviet forced-labor camps that were established before even the USSR itself. We will start with their origins and finish with their heritage. The main section of the conversation will focus on the peak of the system during Joseph Stalin’s rule and one of the darkest chapters in Russian history.

Stalin’s epoch is a period of time when millions of prisoners went through the system of GULAG forced labor camps even though many of them didn’t commit any crimes. Millions of them never returned home. For those who did, their lives (and bodies) never healed. GULAG’s prisoners mined for gold, tin, uranium, and other valuable resources. They built highways and cities, canals, and skyscrapers. We’ll learn about the formation and development of the Soviet repressive system from Cheka (All-Russian Extraordinary Commission) and NKVD (interior ministry of the USSR) in 1917 up until 1987 when one of the most famous camps closed.

We’ll learn about when the system reached its absolute peak under the rule of Joseph Stalin, particularly during the Great Purge of 1936-1938. Even today Russians remain divided on the topic of this individual. Who was Stalin? Was he an effective manager or bloodthirsty dictator? What was the system of GULAG forced labor camps? Was it a necessity or the plan of a mentally unstable person?

Led by a historian Vadim Malinovsky this crash course will give participants a great understanding of the origins, history, and heritage of Stalin’s political repressions. After this conversation, participants will come away with an increased understanding of what horror Russia went through in the 1920s-1950s and the impact of this system on society even still today.

Vadim is a historian (MA) who has graduated from Lomonosov Moscow State University. His focus is contemporary Russian history. He is working on a PhD dissertation on Stalin’s national policy.

This conversation is not suitable for children under age 16

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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