Norillag, Norilsk Corrective Labor Camp was a gulag
The Gulag was the government agency that administered the main Soviet forced labor camp systems. While the camps housed a wide range of convicts, from petty criminals to political prisoners, large numbers were convicted by simplified procedures, such as NKVD troikas and other instruments of...

 labor camp
Labor camp
A labor camp is a simplified detention facility where inmates are forced to engage in penal labor. Labor camps have many common aspects with slavery and with prisons...

 set by Norilsk
Norilsk is an industrial city in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia, located between the Yenisei River and the Taymyr Peninsula. Population: It was granted city status in 1953. It is the northernmost city in Siberia and the world's second largest city north of the Arctic Circle...

, Krasnoyarsk Krai
Krasnoyarsk Krai
Krasnoyarsk Krai is a federal subject of Russia . It is the second largest federal subject after the Sakha Republic, and Russia's largest krai, occupying an area of , which is 13% of the country's total territory. The administrative center of the krai is the city of Krasnoyarsk...

, Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 and headquartered there. It existed from June 25, 1935 to August 22, 1956.

Initially, the Norillag labor force was responsible for the construction of the Norilsk mining-metallurgic complex and for mining copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

 and nickel
Nickel is a chemical element with the chemical symbol Ni and atomic number 28. It is a silvery-white lustrous metal with a slight golden tinge. Nickel belongs to the transition metals and is hard and ductile...

. Its activities gradually expanded into virtually all economical functions of the region, from fishing
Fishing is the activity of trying to catch wild fish. Fish are normally caught in the wild. Techniques for catching fish include hand gathering, spearing, netting, angling and trapping....

 to "reconstruction of the house where lived Comrade I.V. Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 in exile".

Starting from 1,200 inmates in 1935, its numbers jumped to 9,000 in 1937 (the onset of the Great Purge
Great Purge
The Great Purge was a series of campaigns of political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Joseph Stalin from 1936 to 1938...

) and peaked in 1951 at 72500, housed in 30 camp sections. Memorial
Memorial (society)
Memorial is an international historical and civil rights society that operates in a number of post-Soviet states. It focuses on recording and publicising the Soviet Union's totalitarian past, but also monitors human rights in post-Soviet states....

estimates the total number of its inmates over the history of the camp at 400,000, with about 300,000 being political prisoner
Political prisoner
According to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, a political prisoner is ‘someone who is in prison because they have opposed or criticized the government of their own country’....

s. The geography of this camp system included the Norilsk area, including Dudinka
Dudinka is a town and the administrative center of Taymyrsky Dolgano-Nenetsky District of Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia. It was the administrative center of Taymyr Autonomous Okrug, which was merged into Krasnoyarsk Krai on January 1, 2007. It is a port in the lower reaches of the Yenisei River,...

 and Kayerkan
Kayerkan , located in the northern part of Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia and in the southern part of the Taymyr Peninsula, was a town under jurisdiction of Norilsk in 1982–2005. In 2005, the town was incorporated into Norilsk, even though it is located 20 km away from its center...

, as well as more remote places, including Krasnoyarsk
Krasnoyarsk is a city and the administrative center of Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia, located on the Yenisei River. It is the third largest city in Siberia, with the population of 973,891. Krasnoyarsk is an important junction of the Trans-Siberian Railway and one of Russia's largest producers of...

 and some agricultural camps in Kureyka, Atamanovo and Shushenskoye
Shushenskoye is an urban locality in the southern portion of Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia, located at the confluence of the Yenisei and Big Shush. Population:...

Initially the construction activities were handled by the Norilstroy (Норильстрой), while Norillag supplied the workforce and some infrastructure.

In 1953, shortly after the death of Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

, the Gorlag camp of Norillag system was the place of the major Gulag revolt, known as the Norilsk uprising
Norilsk uprising
The Norilsk uprising was a major uprising of the GULAG labor camp inmates in [Gorlag] and later in two camps of Norillag [ITL], Norilsk, URSS, now Russia, in the summer of 1953, shortly after Joseph Stalin's death...


Notable inmates

  • Nikolay Urvantsev
    Nikolay Urvantsev
    Nikolay Nikolayevich Urvantsev was a Soviet geologist and explorer. He was born in the town of Lukoyanov of Nizhny Novgorod Governorate, Russian Empire to the family of a merchant...

  • Eufrosinia Kersnovskaya
    Eufrosinia Kersnovskaya
    Eufrosinia Antonovna Kersnovskaya was a Russian woman who spent 12 years in Gulag camps and wrote her memoirs in 12 notebooks, 2,200,000 characters, accompanied with 680 pictures....

  • Walter Ciszek
    Walter Ciszek
    Rev. Walter Ciszek, S.J. was a Polish-American Jesuit priest known for his clandestine missionary work in the Soviet Union between 1939 and 1963....

  • Cy Oggins
  • Jacques Rossi
    Jacques Rossi
    Jacques Rossi , was a Polish-French writer and polyglot. Rossi was best known for his books on the gulag....

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