History 3x52’ 2x52’

Gulag, The Story

A major political, historical, human and economic fact of the 20th century, the Gulag, the extremely punitive Soviet concentration camp system, remains largely unknown.


The history of the Gulag is long, complex and in many ways out of the ordinary. From the Revolution of 1917 to Gorbachev, touching on the civil war, the Great Terror, World War II, the Cold War and the death of Stalin, this series describes the workings of the Gulag.


How and why did the USSR create this system of forced-labour camps in which 20 million prisoners were exploited and worked to the bone? 


Through the exceptional fates of numerous protagonists, both executioners and victims, the history of the Gulag is deciphered with previously-unreleased documentary sources and the help of renowned historians and Gulag experts (Nicolas Werth...).

Episode 1: From experimentation to setting up the forced labour system (1918-1936)

Episode 2: The Gulag in the turmoil of the “Great Terror” and war (1937-1945)

Episode 3: The Gulag’s peak and decline (1945-1953)

Direction: Patrick Rotman

Production: KUIV Productions pour ARTE France

With the support of the Creative Europe Programme – Media of the European Union.

Languages: French, English

awards & festivals

  • Focal International Awards 2021

    Nomination in the "Best Use of Footage in a History Production" category


    Official Selection

  • Pessac International History Film Festival

    Official selection

see also