RUSSIA: CONDITIONS IN NOTORIOUS GULAGS SHOW NO SIGN OF IMPROVEMENT
The Gulag was the government agency in charge of the Soviet forced labor camp system that was created under Vladimir Lenin and reached its peak during Joseph Stalin's rule from the 1930s to the 1950s. The term is also commonly used in the English language to refer to any forced-labor camp in the Soviet Union, including camps which existed in post-Stalin times. 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 extrajudicial punishment. The Gulag is recognized as a major instrument of political repression in the Soviet Union.