Sunday, June 10, 2007

Gulag Archipelego as Penal Reform

Kate Brown writes that the Gulag wasn't really intended to be a series of death camps
What were the Gulag planners thinking? Who would send hungry, unshod people to the Siberian Taiga without supplies, shelter and tools in the midst of a famine in order to build a brave new world? If this wasn’t sheer sadism, but really a utopian project, as Werth, I think rightly, asserts, who could imagine success?
But really, penal reform. A society struggling to find a place for it's malcontents and others uprooted during the drive to collectivization. To save money on guards and prison staff - it was economics, yo. It just went off the rails, a bit. Stalin meant well, you see.

Cross Posted to The Daily Brief.
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