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Gulag Museum in Russia Faces Closure Due to Pressure from Moscow

Perm-36 is a Gulag museum in the Perm region in Russia. It is a well-preserved Stalin-era camp to provide visitors insight into Soviet repressions. It was one of the worst camps during the Soviet Union. Currently, the Putin regime is taking steps to shut it down.

“Activities such as the museum in the Perm region was for us a confirmation that the federal regional authorities have learned from the past and are ready to do everything to prevent a recurrence of the national tragedy of the 20th century,” Robert Latypov, regional chairman of the rights organization memorial, wrote to Perm Governor Viktor Basargin. He added, “However, recent events make us doubt this.”

Radio Free Europe/Liberty Radio reports:

First its state funding was cut, then its water and electricity.

A year after its troubles began, the museum has seen its director sacked by regional authorities and been forced to halt tours amid what many see as a coordinated campaign to undermine one of Russia’s leading institutions educating the public about victims of the Soviet regime.

This petition has 47,000 signatures and needs 50,000 to send to the governor. Earlier this year, the Communist Party attacked the museum and presented its own “petition on its website accusing the museum of propagandizing fascism.” This petition only gained several thousand signatures, but a Perm lawmaker used it to try to cut the museum’s funding.

The museum was once a spot for international history professors and thinkers to meet to discuss Russia. But due to funding cuts, the museum had to cancel the very popular forum. It shut down in April when it lost water and electricity, and the regional culture ministry fired the director in May.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, ex-KGB, said the collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th century. He is taking slow steps to reintroduce Soviet ways into Russian society. He invaded Georgia in 2008 and threatens ex-Soviet states if any even voice a desire to join the European Union or NATO. Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine and is not doing much to stop the pro-Russian forces in east Ukraine. In May, Russia banned profanity in the arts, which is in step with Leon Trotsky’s essay, “The Struggle for Cultured Speech.” 

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