Publication Date

Spring 2013


School of Education


social Science--Teacher Certification

Primary Subject Area

History, Russian and Soviet; History, Modern; History, General


GULAG, Russian, Soviet, Marxism, Totalitarianism, Socialism, Communism, Terror, Propaganda, Stalin, Marx


European History | Political History | Social History | Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies


This study examines the Soviet Gulag, the main prison camp administration implemented in the Soviet Union. The GULAG represents an institution that is not well known, and this paper will explain why it existed and why it remains in the shadows of history. Terror, propaganda, and belief in progress represent the three ideas that directed the Soviet totalitarian system. This thesis will accordingly explore the ideology behind totalitarian government and Marxist practice in order to understand why the Gulag was allowed to exist. Finally, it investigates the reasons why the Gulag has not taken a priority position in human knowledge and how the rise of the intellectual Left in the West and its sympathies towards Marxism contributed to this. Alexandr Solzhenitsyn is heavily used throughout this paper for his insights on the Gulag.