Uprising in the Gulag

Today my son sent me a link to the Wikipedia page about the Kengir uprising, a 1954 revolt in one of the Soviet Gulag camps. I had not heard of such things before. It is a very interesting read. The prisoners/freedom fighters are impressively well organised, and there are also some who seem to practice religious messianism. In times and places with quick fundamental changes, many things can happen. New culture (more or less) is created. It can develop into nicer things, or worse things. Although worse than a Gulag camp is maybe not easy to find.

I have not read more about this than the Wikipedia page, but there is something quite astonishing in there. The prison was surrounded by the authorities, in order to contain it, and eventually take control back:

The guards broadcast propaganda over loudspeakers into the camp, urging surrender and decrying the loss of days of valuable prison labor and the alleged detrimental effect it was having on the Soviet economy.

I have seldom read something more tragicomical. I am not trying to invoke the "prison planet" theme here, but it reminds me of the richer getting richer while complaining about the poor. Even modest demands for better conditions and a decent life are met with claims that increase in workers' salaries will be detrimental to "the Economy", maybe the hungriest and greediest god in human history.