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Gulag (BBC Series) (Original Recording)

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We will never know how many people were victims of communism between the October Revolution of 1917 and Stalin's death in March 1953. Some historians say 20 million died, others 50 million.

Millions more worked as slaves in the Gulag, the system of mines, factories and building sites which lay at the heart of the great Soviet drive for industrialisation.

Angus Macqueen's epic documentary, Gulag, spanning three hours, is a huge undertaking by the BBC, dedicating a whole evening to the infamous Gulag and its effect on Russia. Considerably more people died as a result of Stalin's Gulag than under Hitler and the film casts a new light on this terrible era in Russia's recent history; also yielding amazing glimpses of contemporary Russian life and characters.

Gulag is a journey from a canal on the outskirts of Moscow to the deserts of central Asia and the snowy wastes of the Arctic via the heart of Russian society and history. It is not simply a story of repression - but an exploration of the way the camp system stands as a metaphor for Soviet Russia - for the camps combined repression with a huge economic purpose, lying at the heart of Stalin's plans to industrialise.

Gulag is tragedy on a harrowing scale. The stories of a nightmare world, told in the words of both victims and perpetrators, continue to haunt today's society. Slave labour built the Russian Parliament and half of Moscow. The legendary Volga Canal was built by the Gulag and if people died during their work then they would be thrown in with the cement.

Released in 1999.

You can now download the files here:

Number of files: 3
Run time: 3 x 50 minutes
Format: original broadcast stream, mpeg-2, 720x576, 4:3, PAL, 25 fps, stereo