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The ghost of the gulag

The camps were a microcosm of the Soviet Union, which may be why so few contemporary Russians want to think very much about them

Book: Gulag Author: Anne Applebaum Price: Allen Lane, ?25

Almost the first thing that Lenin did after seizing power in October 1917 was to set up the Cheka, the secret police department which under various names-the last was the KGB-was the instrument of repression, incarceration and murder of millions of Soviet citizens. The system continued until the collapse of the Soviet Union itself. But it ceased to operate at full blast after the death of Stalin. Beria, Stalin’s own chief of police, concluded that the gulag was not only unjust, but also incapable of achieving the economic objectives which, by…

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