Google Maps users make a terrifying discovery deep in Russia’s harsh Siberian tundra
Eagle-eyed Google Maps users have made a grim discovery deep in Russia’s harsh Siberian tundra.
Located at 69°24’19°N 87°38’57°E, the images appear to show disused buildings and piles of gray rubble, arranged in a neat formation surrounded by nothing but open expanse.
Fortunately, someone on the r/GoogleMaps Reddit page was on hand to explain what the mystery site was.
“It is indeed the Norillag labor camp”, they write.
“You can even see the mining facility connected to the camp further west.
“Good catch OP [original poster]!”
Norillag, the Norilsk corrective labor camp, was one of the Russian horror gulags that operated from June 25, 1935 to August 22, 1956.
The prisoners who were unlucky enough to be sent there were first tasked with the construction of the Norilsk mining-metallurgical complex, operated by the Russian mining and smelting company Norilsk Nickel.
However, over time their role expanded to cover most of the economic functions of the Baron’s region such as fishing. At one point they were even responsible for rebuilding a house where Joseph Stalin lived in exile.
In 1935, the site housed only 1,200 inmates. That number quickly skyrocketed with the start of the Great Purge, Stalin’s campaign to eliminate political rivals and dissidents that began in 1936.
By 1937, the number of inmates had risen to 9,000. By 1951, 72,500 people were housed there in 30 separate camp sections.
According to human rights group Memorial, Norillag housed a total of 400,000 people during its operation, three-quarters of whom were considered political prisoners.
Commenting on a nearby street image some distance east of the Gulag, one person said on Reddit: “This is one of the most depressing places I have ever seen.”
Obviously, this sentiment was shared by the inmates and in 1953 the Norillag camp system was the site of a major Gulag uprising after Stalin’s death, known as the Norilsk uprising.
The uprising lasted 69 days and saw around 1,000 of the 16,378 dissidents killed.
The camp’s closure in 1957 came as most of the Gulag system was finally abandoned.
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