Monument to the first mineshaft of Vorkuta, Vorkuta, Russia

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Monument to the first mineshaft of Vorkuta

Vorkutlag was one of the harshest and most dreaded Gulag camps of the Soviet Union. Situated far above the Arctic Circle, where winters are freezing & dark, and summers short & scant, with permafrost always under the feet, it can be easily deemed as inhuman. What is more, prisoners had to work underground in the mines. This continued for decades, from 1930s to the end of the 1950s, and the city of Vorkuta was born around the camp. Still, as with many labour camps, Soviet state tried to pretend that it was just a routine prison or almost a normal mining town. That’s why they erected a memorial to celebrate the first mine of Vorkuta, called “Kapitalnaja”. Now the monument, built at the Soviet era, lies abandoned and collapsed in the vast wastelands near Vorkuta river. Thus, instead of a macabre tribute to a hellhole, it has become an unintended memorial to thousands of exploited people who were forced to work themselves to death in the mines of Vorkuta.

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