Memorial to the Victims of Political Repression, Sosnogorsk, Komi Republic

Metal Candles

Memorial to the Victims of Political Repression

Around Russia and other former Soviet countries, there are hundreds of memorials & monuments to the victims of Gulag and political repression. Only few of them, though, are known to the larger public. Most are situated in the very remote places, usually at the sites of the former Gulag camps, and it’s mostly local relatives of the victims who visit them. Such is the memorial of Sosnogorsk, a small town near Uhta at the arctic region of Russia. The pedestal on the huge metal candles has only three words in it: “Victims”, “Political” and “Repression”. Sosnogorsk, known as Izhma at that time, had a Gulag camp from the end of the 1930s until the 1950s. The prisoners were building railroads and doing forced labour in oil and gas fields around Sosnogorsk. Thousands of them perished in the harsh climate.  Nowadays the town is half empty, but natural gas is still extracted from the ground. Gulag era is all but forgotten, and the only memorial to the victims is hard to find from the yard of a housing block at the edge of the town.

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