Gulag, The Story 3x52’ & 2x52' by Patrick Rotman

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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...).


Direction: Patrick Rotman

Production: KUIV Productions pour ARTE France

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

Genre: History

Available versions: French, English


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)


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

Screening Room

For professional use only

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