Hotel of Gulag Officers, Medvezhyegorsk, Russia

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Hotel of Gulag Officers

Small, nondescript town of Medvezhyegorsk at the western edge of Russia was important for the first large-scale effort of forced labor in Gulag, the Belomorkanal. The idea of the long canal was to connect White Sea to Baltic Sea through lakes, and it was known as – you guessed it – Stalin Canal. Offices and accommodation for the higher officers of the BBLAG camp were situated in here, and the same building functioned also as a hotel for the guests of the construction site, for example Maxim Gorky. Building contained the best restaurant in Karelia, ballroom and sauna. It is said that on a clear day one could see from the tower  all the way to Povenets, more than 20 kilometres to the east, where the prisoners were building the canal. But the hotel had a dark secret under the surface. Over 20 000 people died at the poor conditions of the construction site. Now the building is mostly empty and stands as an unintended memorial for the injustices of forced labour of Gulag. Downstairs there is the museum of Medvezhyegorsk.

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