Svirlag, SvirLAG was a Soviet forced labour camp run by NKVD
The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs was the public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union that directly executed the rule of power of the Soviets, including political repression, during the era of Joseph Stalin....

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...

 Directorate. It was located on the river Svir
Svir River
Svir is a river in the north-east of Leningrad Oblast, Russia. It flows from Lake Onega west to Lake Ladoga, thus connecting the two largest lakes of Europe. It is the largest river flowing into Lake Ladoga....

 (hence the name Svirskiy in Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

) in the forests by the town Lodeynoye Pole
Lodeynoye Pole
Lodeynoye Pole is a town in Leningrad Oblast, Russia, located on the left bank of the Svir River northeast of St. Petersburg. Population: 21,400 ....

, 244 km north-east of Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

, in Saint Petersburg region (Leningrad oblast
Leningrad Oblast
Leningrad Oblast is a federal subject of Russia . It was established on August 1, 1927, although it was not until 1946 that the oblast's borders had been mostly settled in their present position...

, Vepsland - the land of the Vepses
Veps or Vepsians are a Finnic people that speak the Veps language, which belongs to the Finnic branch of the Uralic languages. The self-designations of these people in various dialects are vepslaine, bepslaane, and lüdinik and lüdilaine. According to the 2002 census, there were 8240 Veps in Russia...

), operated in the 1930s (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...

's time) and onwards. SvirLAG concentration camp was supplier of wood to Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

 and Saint Petersburg.

The number of those who died or were killed in Svirlag in 1930 s (the times of the most numerous and heavy executions that took place in SvirLAG seem to be 1931–1937) is measured in thousands of victims. In 1935, 36.500 inmates were kept in this camp.

The concentration camp was located in the medieval buildings of once Alexander-Svirsky Monastery
Alexander-Svirsky Monastery
Alexander-Svirsky Monastery is a Russian Orthodox monastery situated deep in the woods of the Leningrad Oblast, just south from its border with the Republic of Karelia...

 (after 16-th century Saint Alexander Svirsky
Alexander Svirsky
Alexander Svirsky or Alexander of Svir - an Eastern Orthodox saint, monk and hegumen of Russian Orthodox Church.Amos was born to an ordinary peasant family in the Novgorod Republic, east of Ladoga...

 who being one of two only with Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

 who had a vision of Trinity
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity defines God as three divine persons : the Father, the Son , and the Holy Spirit. The three persons are distinct yet coexist in unity, and are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial . Put another way, the three persons of the Trinity are of one being...

, died in 1533). Bolsheviks closed and vandalized the monastery in 1918 (it finally ceased in 1925). The holy relics were removed, monks partly executed and partly expelled. The chief of the monastery archimandrite
The title Archimandrite , primarily used in the Eastern Orthodox and the Eastern Catholic churches, originally referred to a superior abbot whom a bishop appointed to supervise...

 Evgeniy Trofimov was executed on October 23, 1918 along with 5 monks behind the monastery walls. The monastery buildings were turned into prisons, barracks, and mental asylum. On September 22, 1998 Ministry of Culture of Russia and Russian Ministry of State Property signed decree about delivery of monastery back to Saint Petersburg parish of Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...


Svirlag compared in GULAG system

"The situation review" of 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...

 for October 1935 presents the average composition of the camp population as for October 1934 - 694.100 persons, as for October 1935 - 828.800 persons and of these 36.500 were concentrated in SvirLAG - 6 th by size along with Bamlag
Baikal Amur Corrective Labor Camp was a subdivision of GULAG which existed during 1932-1948. Its administration, headed by Naftaly Frenkel , was headquartered in the settlement of Svobodny, Amur Oblast. Its main activity was construction of the Baikal Amur Mainline and secondary railroad...

 (the biggest with 190.300 inmates in Svobodnyi
Svobodny, Amur Oblast
Svobodny is a town in Amur Oblast, Russia. Population: 58,730 ; 63,889 ; -Geography:The town is located north of Blagoveshchensk on the right bank of the Zeya River.-History:...

, Amur Oblast
Amur Oblast
Amur Oblast is a federal subject of Russia , situated about east of Moscow on the banks of the Amur and Zeya Rivers. It shares its border with the Sakha Republic in the north, Khabarovsk Krai and the Jewish Autonomous Oblast in the east, People's Republic of China in the south, and Zabaykalsky...

), Dmitlag (193.300 inmates), Volgolag on Volga, Belbaltlag (82.000 inmates) and Ukhtpechlag in Ukhta
Ukhta is an important industrial town in the Komi Republic of Russia. Population: Oil springs along the Ukhta River were already known in the 17th century. In the mid-19th century, industrialist M. K. Sidorov started to drill for oil in this area. It was one of the first oil wells in...

, Temlag (21.100 inmates), Dallag (70.200 inmates), Siblag (Siberian concentration camp 74.600 inmates), Sazlag, Karlag
Karlag was one of the largest Gulag labor camps, located in Karaganda Oblast , Kazakh SSR, USSR. About 800,000 inmates served in total in Karlag over its history....

 (34.100 inmates), Prorvlag, Sarlag, Vetlag, Sevvostlag
Sevvostlag was a system of forced labor camps set up to satisfy the workforce requirements of the Dalstroy construction trust in the Kolyma region in April 1932. Organizationally being part of Dalstroy and under the management of the Labor and Defence Council of Sovnarkom, these camps were...

 (47.700 inmates), Vaygach, Norilsklag in 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...


Convicts and victims

Political and church convicts were kept there. Only 1 of 4 was a criminal.

Among the tortures applied by the camp administration was leaving bound inmates in cellar with hungry rats that were accustomed to human meat, inmates had been eaten alive by rats. Many never returned alive.

The administration of the camp was based in Svirstroy (Svir Construction Directorate) on the Svir River
Svir River
Svir is a river in the north-east of Leningrad Oblast, Russia. It flows from Lake Onega west to Lake Ladoga, thus connecting the two largest lakes of Europe. It is the largest river flowing into Lake Ladoga....

. The convicted inmates worked in mines extracting mica
The mica group of sheet silicate minerals includes several closely related materials having highly perfect basal cleavage. All are monoclinic, with a tendency towards pseudohexagonal crystals, and are similar in chemical composition...

, stone
Rock (geology)
In geology, rock or stone is a naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids.The Earth's outer solid layer, the lithosphere, is made of rock. In general rocks are of three types, namely, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic...

 and clay
Clay is a general term including many combinations of one or more clay minerals with traces of metal oxides and organic matter. Geologic clay deposits are mostly composed of phyllosilicate minerals containing variable amounts of water trapped in the mineral structure.- Formation :Clay minerals...


Sampson Sievers
Sampson Sievers
Sampson Sievers, born: Edward Sievers , names adopted after conversion: Sergius , when monk known first as Elder Symeon and after taking Great Schema as Elder Sampson - Russian Orthodox Christian elder, hieromonk, priest, confessor...

 - hieromonk
Hieromonk , also called a Priestmonk, is a monk who is also a priest in the Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholicism....

 (born of English
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

 mother) of Saint Petersburg's Alexander Nevsky Lavra
Alexander Nevsky Lavra
Saint Alexander Nevsky Lavra or Saint Alexander Nevsky Monastery was founded by Peter I of Russia in 1710 at the eastern end of the Nevsky Prospekt in St. Petersburg supposing that that was the site of the Neva Battle in 1240 when Alexander Nevsky, a prince, defeated the Swedes; however, the battle...

 was imprisoned and tortured in this camp (from 1932, what is witnessed by archival documents and personal testimonies), though survived.

Among other inmates who were imprisoned or executed in SvirLAG were:
  • Archbishop Augustine (Alexander Belayev) (inprisoned in SvirLAG in 1931–1934, executed November 23, 1937), Russian Orthodox archbishop
    An archbishop is a bishop of higher rank, but not of higher sacramental order above that of the three orders of deacon, priest , and bishop...

  • Vladimir Vorobyev (b. in 1876 in Russia's Saratov Region, sat in SvirLAG in 1931–1932, died in Kuybyshev
    Samara, Russia
    Samara , is the sixth largest city in Russia. It is situated in the southeastern part of European Russia at the confluence of the Volga and Samara Rivers. Samara is the administrative center of Samara Oblast. Population: . The metropolitan area of Samara-Tolyatti-Syzran within Samara Oblast...

     prison in 1940 from heart paralysis) - archeologist and Russian Orthodox parish priest.
  • Stepan Rudnytskyi - Ukrainian
    Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is the sixth-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens...

     geographer, founder of Ukrainian
    Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

    Geography is the science that studies the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of Earth. A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes...

     (born in Tarnopol in 1877, then Austro-Hungary), sat in SvirLAG in 1933–1937 where he was also executed in 1937 .
  • Yulian Shpol (literary name, in life: Mykhaylo Yalovyi - Ukrainian writer (born in Poltava region), arrested in 1933 and May 11, 1934 with special convoy sent to SvirLAG, 2,5 years later executed in SvirLAG November 3, 1937.
  • Magzhan Zhumabayev - Kazakh
    The Kazakhs are a Turkic people of the northern parts of Central Asia ....

     poet, arrested by Soviet authorities in 1929, sent to Svirlag were he was imprisoned until June 2, 1934. Arrested again in 1935 in Alma-Ata, March 1938 he was executed by organs of NKVD.

Archival statistics tells that only in one year of 1932 1.569 died or were executed in Svirlag and in 1935 3.887 inmates more died or were killed in Svirlag, this makes total of 5.456 victims just in two years of 1932 and 1935.

External links

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