Camp “Severniy”

Expedition of the GULAG History Museum to Chukotka in August 2015.

The prisoners of Chaunlag constructed the camp “Severniy” during the early 1950s.

The camp is located on the Chukotka highlands, 60 km away from the city Pevek, between the streams Shirokyi and Utiniy. From the west, a dirt road comes to the camp.

According to the memories of the prisoners, the Chaunlag camp was built in autumn 1950. First, the prisoners lived in tents, made holes using ammonite, placed poles and watch-towers and pulled the wire.

In the spring of 1951, they started to construct the barracks from stone, fragments of which has preserved by today. At the same time, they constructed the mine and roadways for transporting the ore with manpower. A diesel-engine power plant supplied electricity but during the first winter, it did not function, so the prisoners warmed themselves using coal.

There was the greatest uranium-field in Chukotka at “Severniy”. As a result, there the working conditions were the most difficult.

During uranium ore mining and milling, fine dust was the main danger, since it included radioactive elements and easily penetrated into the the human body.

The camp consisted of around 25 separate buildings that are currently ruined. All of the buildings were made of either cobblestones or logs. Besides the capital structures, there was also a number of the engineer constructions (mines, piers, and rails) and small architectural forms (watchtowers and stairs) on the territory of the camp.

120 meters to the West from the camp “Severniy”, there is a jail with a punishment cell, built in 1951-1953. The construction is a one-story rectangular building enclosed with a fence made of barbed wire and wooden poles.

Chaunlag labor camp of Dal'stroy existed from 1951 to 1953. Besides from uranium ore mining, prisoners were engaged in geological surveying and road building. The population of the camp was: by 1 September 1951 10,941 people and by 19 June 1952 7,274 people.

This video was filmed in August 2015, during the expedition of the GULAG History Museum under the direction of the head of Museum Roman Romanov to Chukotka. The expedition started in Pevek and took place at the uranium camps of Chaunlag “Vostochniy” and “Severniy”. During the expedition, numerous exhibits have been collected. In addition, the staff of the expedition created cartographical air photos, 3D panorama, photos and videos of preserved buildings and fragments of the camp.

Based on the results of the expedition, buildings and structure of the former camps of Chaulnag Dal’nostroy received historical monument status. This provides us an advantage for monument conservation, and protection of the territory as well as to get access for researchers.