Under Joseph Stalin’s rule, Kolyma’ [Колымa] became the most notorious region for the Gulag labor camps. Tens of thousands or more people may have died en route to the area or in the Kolyma’s series of gold mining, road building, lumbering, and construction camps between 1932 and 1954. It was Kolyma’s reputation that caused Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, author of The Gulag Archipelago, to characterize it as the “pole of cold and cruelty” in the Gulag system.
Gold is mined even in our days, sometimes in the same spots where prisoners once worked and died. Most of the modern Russians perceive Kolyma according to the lines from Vladimir Vysotsky’s famous song: “Everyone knows that there are only prison camps there, While inside them – murderers…”
All Photos Emil Gataullin