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Friday, August 26, 2016

Russia Marks 80th Anniversary Of Opening Of Belomorkanal

Published 2 August 2013

It has been 80 years since the Belomorkanal -- the man-made channel connecting the White Sea and the Baltic Sea -- opened on August 2, 1933. The canal was built with the forced labor of Soviet Gulag inmates, many thousands of whom died during the construction process. (10 PHOTOS)


A ship passes through a lock in the Belomorkanal in this undated photo. The 227-kilometer canal was constructed in 20 months between 1931 and 1933.


Gulag prisoners gather to listen to a speech by the head of the Belomorkanal Camp in 1932. More than 100,000 convicts were forced to work on the canal.


Laborers excavate the canal site.


A poster celebrates the massive construction project.


Patients are crowded into the cramped hospital at Belomorkanal Camp in 1932. Estimates of the number of forced laborers who died working on the canal range from 8,700 to more than 25,000.


Female prisoners use shovels and wheelbarrows at an excavation site in 1932.


Workers pose with two officials from Belomorkanal Camp visiting the forest in Vaidai. The banner reads: "Labor in the U.S.S.R. is a matter of honor, glory, valor, and heroism."


Soviet leaders considered the canal's construction an example of the success of Josef Stalin's First Five-Year Plan. It was the first major Soviet project completed using forced labor.


An undated photo shows laborers at work on the canal.


Belomorkanal brand cigarettes, which were first produced in 1932 in Leningrad to commemorate the canal's construction