A poll released by Russia’s state-funded VTsIOM polling agency on Tuesday found seven out of ten Russians supporting the return of gulag labor camps, a notorious Stalinist practice that used prisoners for slave labor on state construction projects.
The Moscow Times explained that a Gulag 2.0 would supposedly be more humane than the notoriously brutal and deadly forced labor camps established by Joseph Stalin in the 1920s and fully exposed to the Western world by dissident writer Alexandr Solzhenitsyn in his landmark 1973 book The Gulag Archipelago.
Stalin’s gulags held millions of inmates at their peak, including political dissidents, purged Communist Party officials, and random unlucky Soviet citizens in addition to convicted criminals. Tens of thousands of those inmates died every year from accidents, starvation, summary execution, and simply being worked to death.
The new labor camp proposal polled by VTsIOM would involve “dispatching around 188,000 inmates to