Friday, 15 March 2013

Gulag Museum

I know I put a similar picture in a previous post, but I couldn't resist adding this one. The building is 7 stories high and although the worker is wearing a harness, it is not connected to anything.

I probably shouldn’t write today, as I am feeling a bit sour. Almost being run over by a young woman at a pedestrian crossing (what’s unusual about that?) didn’t help my mood.

A Canadian friend, also a geologist, said to me many years ago that he couldn’t figure out why the British had sent their free-settlers to an ice-box (Canada) and their convicts to paradise (Australia). In this Russian ice-box it has been snowing again these past three days and I have been feeling a bit homesick for paradise. No doubt I’ll perk up when spring arrives, but these Moscow winters are so darned long.

My topic for today suits my disposition – the Gulag Museum. This museum is located at 16 Petrovka Ulitsa. People say it is hard to find, but it’s more a matter of it not being obvious. One has to walk down a short tunnel almost directly opposite Stoleshnikov Pereulok. The museum is small, with thoughtful and poignant displays showing the lives and meagre possessions of individuals who went through these awful labour camps.

Entrance to the Gulag Museum, only visible after passing through a short tunnel.

 I’m not going to say anything more about the gulags. You can read about them on Wikipedia if interested. Nasty places. Interestingly, Stalin, who instigated the gulag system, is now becoming increasingly admired in Russia (just Google ‘Stalin popularity’). 

Stairway up to the museum.
Stalin's picture might be shown, but this is one place where he is not admired.