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Russian Rights Group Creates Virtual Gulag

Prisoners at work in the gulag during the 1930s
Prisoners at work in the gulag during the 1930s
The Russian human rights center Memorial has launched an online "museum" on the history of the Soviet labor and prison camps known as the gulag, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Memorial workers have spent six years going through Russian and international archives for photographs and documents that explain the history of the gulag and what life in the camps was like.

The website currently consists of digitized documents from more than 100 museums.

Project worker Tatyana Pritikina warned that as small museums lose their funding and disappear, the "collective memory of history also disappears."

She said it is impossible to be indifferent to history when looking at the online exhibition.

"In the exhibition you see everything -- from the death certificate of a two-month-old baby who died in prison to an aluminum spoon used during a church service in one of the labor camps," Pritikina said.

All entries in the museum are annotated with facts and dates. The virtual museum also lists the locations of mass executions and mass graves.