Gulag was the name given to the concentration camps in operation all over Russia from the 1920s to the 1950s. They were set up by the communist regime to develop the vast wilderness of Siberia. Millions of people were worked, starved or frozen to death in the harshest conditions imaginable.

Watchtower at a gulag camp on the 501 Salekhard-Igarka Railway of Death, Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Region, Arctic Siberia

Watchtower at a gulag camp in the 501 Salekhard-Igarka Railway of Death, Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Region, Arctic Siberia

Underfed, underclothed people had to work outdoors on construction projects in temperatures that could reach the negative 60s centigrade. Not only had the majority not committed any crimes, but they were also pro-communism and had just been arrested to fulfil a quota. It was one of the greatest stories of human suffering that humanity has to offer.

Inside a gulag camp near the 501 Salekhard-Igarka Railway of Death, Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Region, Arctic Siberia

Inside a gulag camp near the 501 Salekhard-Igarka Railway of Death, Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Region, Arctic Siberia

Unlike in Europe, these places have not been turned into museums but have been left forgotten out in the taiga forest, the tundra and the mountains. For this reason, many are in a very poor state of repair. There are, however, several which have somehow survived the test of time and the elements, complete with watch towers, sleeping quarters, gallows, furniture, cutlery and crockery, inmate graffiti and more. Nearly some of the mines they dug and the railways they tried to build in the frozen Arctic wastes can still be found.

Gulag camp near the 501 Salekhard-Igarka Railway of Death, Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Region, Arctic Siberia

Gulag camp near the 501 Salekhard-Igarka Railway of Death, Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Region, Arctic Siberia

We offer trips to visit well-preserved gulag concentration camps in the following areas:

1. Kestyor gulag in Arctic Yakutia. This is a part of a 2-week trip in Arctic Yakutia including mammoth graveyards with guaranteed finds of woolly mammoth bones and/or tusks, indigenous Yakut horse herders, and much more.

2. Dneprovskiy gulag in Magadan Province. This is a part of a 2-week overland trip from Yakutia to Magadan on the Road of Bones.

3. Numerous gulags strung out along the Salekhard-Igarka 501 Railway of Death in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Region (not to be confused with the Nenets Autonomous Region). Please contact us through this site’s contact form for an individual quote on this trip. It can be combined with a visit to nomadic Nenets reindeer herders.

Gulag camp near the 501 Salekhard-Igarka Railway of Death, Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Region, Arctic Siberia

Gulag camp near the 501 Salekhard-Igarka Railway of Death, Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Region, Arctic Siberia