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Death and RedemptionThe Gulag and the Shaping of Soviet Society$
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Steven A. Barnes

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691151120

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691151120.001.0001

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(p.254) Conclusion
Death and Redemption

Steven A. Barnes

Princeton University Press

This concluding chapter summarizes the preceding discussions, covering the Gulag's emergence as a mass social phenomenon in the 1920s to its collapse by the end of the 1950s. The system took a terrible toll on Soviet society, with victims numbering into the millions, and even those who survived often crushed by the experience. After Stalin, the Soviet state decisively moved away from the use of mass terror as a normal, permanent feature of the political system. However, it also engaged in numerous incidents of violence and political repression in its final thirty-five years, from the bloody suppression of uprisings within its borders and the countries of the Warsaw Pact, to the use of labor camps and psychoprisons to devastate the small but vocal human rights dissident movements of the Brezhnev years. Nonetheless, the Gulag never reemerged as the mammoth complex of its heyday.

Keywords:   Gulag, Soviet Union, prisons, Stalin, suppression, uprising, Warsaw Pact, labor camps, psychoprisons, Brezhnev

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