The Daily Telegraph

TV host praises ‘individual­ity’ of gulags as superior to Nazi concentrat­ion camps

- By Our Foreign Staff

A LEADING Russian propagandi­st has claimed that Stalin’s gulags were superior to Hitler’s concentrat­ion camps because inmates were allowed to retain their “individual­ity”.

Vladimir Solovyov, one of Russian television’s longest-serving talking heads, claimed in his flagship show that the gulag was meant to “re-educate” people.

“In Soviet labour camps, they knew your name and under which law you were imprisoned. You were an individual. In German concentrat­ion camps, you had no individual­ity.

“The goal of the Soviet camps was to re-educate. Whatever you want to make of it. A German concentrat­ion camp, a European concentrat­ion camp, had the goal of destroying you as a person and then to break you down into parts.”

Solovyov’s claim that the Soviet labour camp system was morally superior to Nazi Germany’s concentrat­ion camps is just one iteration of a central plank of Russia’s war propaganda, which says the so-called “special military operation” is being waged against “Nazism”.

His bizarre claim that the worst thing about Nazi camps was failure to respect inmates’ individual­ity – and not the systematic mass murder of Jews and other minorities – may also reflect Russia’s official view of the Second World War, which emphasises Hitler’s attack on the Soviet Union as his greatest crime. He went on: “Now, the descendant­s of the Nazi idea in Europe talk about us as orcs… Speak of us as citizens of Russia all of whom should be held responsibl­e. They’re walking down the same path. They don’t see us as individual­s. They don’t see us as people.

“Dehumanisa­tion. Denial of our right to be ourselves. That is the main difference between us and them.

“Ukraine, diseased with Nazism, does not see us as people. For them we are orcs, Rashists, but none the less we still pity them … We hate the sin but not the sinner. That is why we will win.”

About 18 million Soviet citizens passed through the prisons of the Main Camp Directorat­e, known by its administra­tive acronym gulag, between the late 1920s and the 1950s.

Varying estimates of the death toll begin at 1.5 million.

‘In Soviet labour camps, they knew your name and under which law you were imprisoned’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom