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Published in Stream:
Russian Update: March 17, 2015
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
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Russian authorities are threatening to brand the organizers of the Perm 36 GULAG museum as "foreign agents," the Agency for Social Information (ASI) reported.

Last year, authorities in the city of Perm in the Ural mountains shut off water and electricity to the GULAG museum, devoted to the lives of the prisoners who had suffered there in the Soviet era.

By March, officials had taken over the buildings and turned them into a state museum celebrating the history of the prison system and its guards themselves.

The efforts of the Perm 36 Museum non-profit group, like those of Memorial Society and the Sakharov Foundation, were among the few surviving programs in the Putin reign to independently research and commemorate the victims of Stalin. 

Now, as Stalin is making something of a comeback and the Kremlin wants to downplay the negative side of Soviet history as they re-constitute part of the USSR in the Eurasian Customs Union, the museum is in the way.

Translation: Interviewed Soviet dissident Soviet Kovalev today. He served 5 years in Perm-36.

Kovalev, who just celebrated his 85th birthday, is the last of the generation to remember the camps.

Translation: Perm-36. The only Soviet prison camp that has been preserved. Pivot of conflict between government and civil society organizations.

Translation: Perm-36 Museum is being inspected for the presence of the status of "foreign agent."

- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick