What Was Life Like In Russian Gulags? The Horrors, Explained

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A system of forced labor, the Soviet gulags were a scene of atrocities. (Getty Images)

Beginning under the leadership of dictator Vladimir Lenin, the Soviet Union established a forced labor camp system that soon earned a reputation for brutality, injustice, and horrendous conditions. Throughout the Cold War, however, the Soviet gulags (as they were called) presented a sugarcoated facade to the rest of the world. It wasn't until later that we learned about the real atrocities of the gulags.