(ESTIMATED DATE) THE SOVIET FORCED LABOR SYSTEM: AN UPDATE

Created: 12/1/1985

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TK1 SOVIfT fORCtO LA BOX SYSTtXi A" UPDATI

Tha Gulag: oviet Reality

The Soviet Union eon ti nuts toarge forced labor system that extends to nearly every region of the country Porced labor ln the USSR Is far moreenal systea to support enforcement of criainal codes: it Is aa Integral part of the Soviet economy as veiley mechanisa for intimidating Soviet citiiens into compliance with the Kremlin's political noraj

Despite Gorbachev's widely touted Clasnost. analysis of infornationroad range of sources indicates that the number of forced laborers has grown toillion froaillion estimated in thend now accountsercent of the total Soviei labor force.

o COxriHKD forced laborers nuaberilllon:

2 ailllon are confined In0 heavily secured forced labor camps (seeore arc ln urban prisons or colony settlements.

--The yearly growth rata of caap population haiarcant alncatwice that of tht Soviat Ubor fore*.

--New caapa ara being built In regions undergoing aconoaic expansions tha Volga, Wait Siberia, last Siberia, and the Soviet Tar Bait

UNCOHriKCS forced laborers are estiaated

released froa forced Ubor camps to finish their sentences at constructionprobably nuabar overillion.

sentenced directly to labor projects called by the Soviets "coapulsory labor withoutestimatedillion

o Thein which Moscow uses forced laborers to

support tha 1COKOHT have varied little over tha yeim

and aanufacturtng ara still the acst prevalent econoalc activities for forced laborers.

--The nuaber of forced laborers er.gaqed in logging has declined slightly, but the Soviets ace using tnea co exploit new tiaber areas ln Cast Siberia.

O IHCRUSIS in the rate Of System *

aycontinuing economic, social, and political problems and pollclts:

--Soviet labor shortages, especially ln unskilled Ubor or in unattractive or difficult Jobs, have Intensified and require Increased supplements of forced labor.

--Large-scale construction pro]tcts--industrles, pipelines, andcontinuing economic expansion to outlying regions have exacerbated the labor shortages.

campaigns against alcoholism, crime, and corruption have produced more forced laborers and required an expansion of the camp network. 1

Historic Comparisons

Forced labor has been an important part of the Soviet political and economic scene for more than SO yean. Its continued existence, despite International pressures and condemnation for human rights abuses. Indicates that Moscow believes the benefits of the system outweigh the negatives.

nhiw the number of forced laborers has varied somewhat during different eras- the integration of this labor force into the national economy hasonstant policy.

o stalin's regime molded the forced labor systemignificant economic asset:

collectivisation policy sent millions of peasants, especially ukrainians, into exile or to forced labor camps.

ear plans made ample use of forced labor in large construction projects, and the system grew toillion by the early

numbers of forced laborers were used ln tha

expanding timber industry in the north and in gold mining operations in the remote kolyma river area of northeastern siberia. cruel treatment, inadequate food, frigid cold, and damp working conditions at kolyma resulted in an extremely high mortalityacillion duringyear period of operation.

world war ii, stalin deported many displacedbaits, and others--to the soviet forced labor system; german pows and

a

non-h1 "Mr. minorities accused of collaboration swelled tha ranksillion

0 Tht KHRUSHCHtV tr* gave rlit tooutward- :ii but, in rtallty. Ittvltalitatlon ptrlod tot tht forced labor system

tht Immediate aftermath of Stalin's death, reforms were Initiated and the number of forced laborers was reduced drastically.

4 andowever, the Soviets

instituted new programs for unconfined forced labor ^parolees/probationers) chat sent many to construction sites of new industries, often chemical plants.

--Toward the end of, criminal penalties also were toughened as the crime rate Increased.

o The LAST TEH YEARS hasradual increase in numbers of forced laborers and their continued use in the economyi

onfined and unconfined forced laborers In the Soviet Union totalledillion.

--Since Brethnev, campaigns against crime and

corruption have intensified; both Andropov and Chernenko pressed this activity.

-Crackdowns on dissidsnti--refusniks, huaan rights activists, religious nonconforstists, minority natlonallsts--also have added slightly to the forced Ubor population. He estimateoviet citizens have been convicted of "political rises" including several doten Catholic activists froa Lithuania, Latvia, and If. Ukraine.

-The Gorbachev regime has given early releaseuaan rights act ivists--Including .tine CatholicJanuary -tovever, under Gorbachev, the anti-alcohol and anti-corruption campaigns have resulted Lnincarceration ofew prisoners.

fconoaic Hole

Porced laborers continue to make up an important, though (isallegaent of the Soviet labor force. Their twrtsit role in the Soviet economy airrors the way forced labor has been used ln certain Industries and regions for irVre

ctivity has bean an afftctivt means for tha Soviets to uia forcad laborarsi

--Son* forced labor camps are tet up at conatruction sites of urban apartments, hotels, and government buildings.

--Confined forced laborers still work In construction of industries.

unconfined forced laborers are sent to rea>ote construction sites of major projects, Including industries, pipelines, railroads, and housing.

o manufacturing uses the largest number of confined forced laborers!

illion forced laborersamps now engage In some sort of manufacturing; this activity showed the largest increase7

Include: agricultural machinery: auto batteries, gears, mufflers, and tires: electric motors; radio/TV components and cabinets; pipes and pipe fittings; bags; boxes: clothing; gloves; shoes; and many wooden goods such as doors, furniture, chess sets, and barrels.

o LOGGING and WOOO PROCtSStKG itill occupies many forced laborers In remote regions as It did in:

"Many camps are locatedhe edge of dense taiga forests ln the northern part of European USSR and the Urals area; some are abandoned as areas are logged out and forced laborers move to new camps*

camps are springing up in virgin forests of East Siberia as the timber Industry begins to expand eastward.

o MIHIHG or mineral processsing remains an common activity for forced laborers engaged in strenuous and sometimes dangerous workr

--forced labor camps are located at or near mining areas for: gold, uranium, coal, limestone, stone, clay (forand- and gravel.

some mines prisoners are usad in auxiliary work on the surface, such as cutting timber in support of mining operations.

new forced labor camp at the siterushed rockn northern West Siberia was probably needed because of increased demand for the product

ft

and because tha Arctic climate, isolation, and hard work would bt unattractive to free labor.

o agricultural work tor forced laborers ii minimal.

Conditions at Camps

Former prisoners reaffirm that the Soviets ulntAin abcalnable living and working conditions for forced laborers in camps and violate basic human rights through policies that debilitate and degrade prisoners.

o woAJCIHC CONPfTIOHS at camps lead directly to Injury or indirectly to health problems;

--In many manufacturing industries prisoners endure hazardous and unventilated surroundings; they operate defective machinery and wear no protective

--Working hours often exceedour day,

6-day week schedule established by Soviet law; camp officials may extend workdays to meet production goals or prisoners *ay work longer to fulfill unrealistic production quotas required to get full food rations.

and terrain also may add to the miseries.

ln the cold and swampy northern regions; prisoners work In almost all weather conditions, often without adequate clothing, boots, and gloves.

o living COKDITIOKS at the camps also are hazardous to forced laborers' health!

--Inadequate food stands out as one of the most

inhumane and widespread features of the system; the insufficient amounts and extremely poor quality, often rotten, are confirmed *jy most former inmates.

--Punishment for camp infractions includes beatings, isolation, and reduced diet.

care Is of marginal quality and often arbitrarily applied;roup receive the harshest treatment in camps anddied within the last few years.

hristian and Jewish prisoners of conscience are often prevented from practicing their religion.

Outlook

A

The iiie ot the Soviet forced Ubor population In the Soviet economy will probably continue to increase at about the tame rate as In recent years because:

difficulty ln attracting free labor to unskilled jobs In construction and in resource development projects In remote regions will maintain the pressure to use forced laborers.

--The use of unconfined forced laborers is an

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