History - Last modification: 15/03/10
Stories from the Gulag

Almost one million Europeans were deported under the former Soviet Union's Gulag system. RFI and the French National Centre of Scientific Research have collected the stories of 120 survivors in the first ever sound archive devoted to the Gulag experience. Here we present a history of the archive, the background to the Gulag deportations, and a selection of portraits of survivors accompanied by previously unpublished photographs.

Burial in a Gulag camp, Kazakhstan.
11/03/2010 - Context

Why were people sent to the Gulag?

Under Stalin, people could be sent to the Gulag for any one of several specific reasons, as the experiences of Vera, Antanas, Klara, Silva, Iaroslav, Andrej, Elena and Iosas testify.

Prisoners at the Kengir camp in May 1955.

Recording Europe's first sound archive of the Gulag

The story of the Gulag first captured journalist Valérie Nivelon's interest when historian and academic Alain Blum told her about an old woman, a babushka, whom he met on a trip to Siberia.
Silva Linarte's photos
Elena Talanina's Photos
Antanas Seikalis' photos
Vera Chopik's photos
Iosas Milautskas' photos