This film, based on eyewitness testimony, details the most notorious gulag in Siberia – and some of its horrific crimes and atrocities.
The Kolyma region (Russian: Колыма]) is located in part of the Russian Far East. It is bounded by the East Siberian Sea and the Arctic Ocean in the north and the Sea of Okhotsk to the south. The extremely remote region gets its name from the Kolyma River and mountain range, parts of which were not discovered until 1926.
The Kolyma, part inside the Arctic Circle, is characterized by frigidly cold winters lasting up to six months of the year. Permafrost and tundra cover a large part of the region. Average winter temperatures range from -19 °C to -38 °C (even lower in the interior), and average summer temperatures, from +3 °C to +16 °C.
In the Stalinist era, Kolyma became the most notorious region for the Gulag labor camps. A million or more people may have died en route to the area or in the Kolyma’s series of gold mining, road building, lumbering, and construction camps between 1932 and 1954. It was Kolyma’s reputation that caused Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, author of The Gulag Archipelago, to characterize it as the “pole of cold and cruelty” in the Gulag system. The Mask of Sorrow monument in Magadan commemorates all those who died in the Kolyma forced-labour camps. (Source: Wikipedia)