GULAG - A Documentary on Stalinist Labor Camps

This clip is from GULAG, a documentary by Angus Macqueen which tells the story of Soviet forced-labor camps, and their prisoners, during the Stalinist age.  Using their own words, and expressing personal anguish, people who were there provide histories which are sad and shocking.

Angus Macqueen, the film's producer and director, tells us why he set out to make this documentary - which is three hours long:

I wanted to perform the historical duty of capturing the stories and voices before the characters died, but the central drive of the film is to explore what Stalinism and the Gulag have done to the fabric of society. What did it mean to suffer and not be able to tell the truth even decades after the event? What was it like to be an informer?

BBC2, which aired the lengthy documentary in its entirety, provides more information on the film and its subject matter:

Gulag is a journey from a canal on the outskirts of Moscow to the deserts of central Asia and the snowy wastes of the Arctic via the heart of Russian society and history. It is not simply a story of repression – but an exploration of the way the camp system stands as a metaphor for Soviet Russia – for the camps combined repression with a huge economic purpose, lying at the heart of Stalin’s plans to industrialise.

Gulag is tragedy on a harrowing scale. The stories of a nightmare world, told in the words of both victims and perpetrators, continue to haunt today’s society. Slave labour built the Russian Parliament and half of Moscow. The legendary Volga Canal was built by the Gulag and if people died during their work then they would be thrown in with the cement.

Media Credits

Video clip, from GULAG, a documentary by Angus Macqueen.  Copyright, Ronachan Films, all rights Reserved.  Clip provided here as fair use for educational purposes and to acquaint new viewers with the documentary.

Director:  Angus Macqueen

Production Company:  BBC

Awards/nominations include:

Grierson Award, Best British Documentary 1999
IDA Documentary Feature Award 2000, Los Angeles
British Academy and Royal Television Society Nomination


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"GULAG - A Documentary on Stalinist Labor Camps" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Jun 03, 2020.
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