The Gulag in Northwest Russia (1931-1960) | Russia's Necropolis of Terror and the Gulag

The Gulag in Northwest Russia (1931-1960)

This list presents information about 17 camp systems based wholly or partly in Northwest Russia. In almost all cases the source is The System of Corrective-Labour Camps in the USSR, the authoritative 1998 handbook (and later website) compiled by researchers at Moscow Memorial.

The month and year headings in the list below indicate when a camp complex came into being. Then follow [a] the customary abridged title of the complex, e.g. Yagrinlag; [b] its principal activities; [c] maximum number of prisoners (usually as of 1 January); [d] location of headquarters; [e] the dates when the camp complex closed or was merged and absorbed by other camp systems. Links are provided to separate articles on certain camp complexes.

The headquarters of some camp complexes remained comparatively small settlements; others (e.g. Ukhta, Vorkuta, Severodvinsk) became major urban centres with populations over 50,000. Based on today’s population levels, this distinction is denoted here and in the website entries by writing the town / city name, respectively,  in lower or upper case letters.

(See also The Gulag in the Soviet Far East, 1929-1958.)


June and November 1931

1. Ukhtpechlag oil and coal surveying; max. prisoners 23,000 (1936); HQ Chibiu (UKHTA), Komi. Closed May 1938; partially replaced by Ukhtimzhemlag [10]. [Eight sites.]

2. BELBALTLAG construction and maintenance of White Sea Canal; max. prisoners 108,000 (Dec. 1932) HQ Medvezhegorsk, Karelia. Closed September 1941. [Five sites.]

August 1937

3. Lokchimlag forestry; max. prisoners 26,000 (1939); HQ Pezmog, Komi; merged August 1940 with Ustvymlag [4]. [Eight sites.]

4. Ustvymlag forestry; max. prisoners 24,000 (1943); HQ Vozhael, Komi; still functioning January 1960. [Four sites.]

5. Kuloilag forestry and port; max. prisoners 30,000 (1942); HQ ARKHANGELSK. Closed February 1942. [One site.]

April-May 1938

6. YAGRINLAG – construction of port and city; max. prisoners 83,000 (1942); HQ Molotovsk (SEVERODVINSK), Arkhangelsk Region. Closed January 1953. [Four sites.]

7. Soroklag – railway and hydroelectric station construction; max. prisoners 52,000 (1941); HQ Belomorsk, Karelia. Closed April 1942. [One site.]

8. Sevzheldorlag – construction and maintenance of Northern Railroad; max. prisoners 85,000 (1941); HQ Abez, Komi; absorbed Sevdvinlag [12] September 1946; merged with Sevpechlag [11] to form Pechorlag [17] July 1950. [Eight sites.]

9. Vorkutlag – mining of coal and molybdenum; max. prisoners 63,000 (1950); HQ VORKUTA, Komi; still functioning January 1960. [11 sites.]

10. Ukhtizhemlag – oil and coal surveying; max. prisoners 37,000 (1950); HQ UKHTA, Komi. Closed May 1955. [Two sites.]

May, September & October 1940

11. SEVPECHLAG – rail construction; max. prisoners 102,354 (1942); HQ Abez, Pechora, Komi; merged July 1950 with Sevzheldorlag [8] to form Pechorlag [17]. [13 sites.]

12. Sevdvinlag – rail construction; max. prisoners 42,000 (1941); HQ Velsk, Arkhangelsk Region; absorbed by Sevzheldorlag [8] September 1946. [One site.]

13. Opoklag – hydroelectric station on Sukhona river; max. prisoners 579 (1940); HQ Porogi village, Vologda Region. Closed July 1947. [Two sites.]

November 1941

14. Intalag – coal mining, power station; max. prisoners 21,000 (1947); HQ Inta, Komi; separated from Vorkutlag [9]; merged with Minlag [15] October 1948. [Eight sites.]

February 1948

15. Minlag – coal mining, construction; max. prisoners 34,000 (1952); HQ Inta, Komi; absorbed Intalag [14] October 1948. Closed March 1957. [Nine sites.]

February 1949

16. Obsklag & Construction site 501 – railroad etc; max prisoners 50,019 (1949); HQ Salekhard, Tyumen Region. Closed February 1954, part absorbed by Pechorlag [17]. [Two sites.]

July 1950

17. Pechorlag – railway construction; max. prisoners 47,000 (1953); HQ Pechora, Komi; formed by amalgamation of Sevzheldorlag [8] and Sevpechlag [11]. Closed August 1959. [Seven sites.]


[JC August 2021]

The Gulag in Northwest Russia (1931-1960)