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New Left Review I/214, November-December 1995

R.W. Davies

Forced Labour Under Stalin: The Archive Revelations

I. Our Knowledge Before Glasnost

The forced-labour system was developed on a mass scale in the early 1930s, and expanded remorselessly until Stalin’s death in 1953. At first the Soviet press gave it a certain amount of publicity—albeit very selective. In 1931–33 the construction of the White Sea canal by prison labour was extolled as a practical demonstration of the way in which a socialist system of justice would re-educate and rehabilitate criminals. But the dark side of the camps—the hunger and the brutality—was concealed. Later in the 1930s the press fell silent.

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R. W. Davies, ‘Forced Labour Under Stalin: The Archive Revelations’, NLR I/214: £3

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