Camp “Severing”

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

The “Severniy” camp was constructed by the prisoners of Chaunlag in the first half of the 1950s. The camp is located on the mounds of Chukotka highlands 60 km. east from the city Pevek between the streams Shirokyi and Utiniy. From the west, a dirt road comes to the camp point. After the memories of the prisoners, the Chaun camp was constructed in autumn 1950 First the convicts lived in the tents – they made the holes using stones, they placed the poles and watch-towers, strained the wire.

In spring 1951 they started the construction of the barracks made of stones. There are still several of them left. Simultaneously a mine with several entries was under construction. They delivered mineral with their own hands in the trolleys. Diesel engine that should have warmed them didn’t work the first winter and they used coal.

In “Severniy” there was the hugest uranium-field in Chukotka and the conditions of work were the hardest of all. The greatest danger during the works came from the fine dust that included radioactive elements and got into human body very easy.

The camp consisted of more than 25 alone standing buildings, the rests of which one can see even nowadays. All the buildings were made of flat cobble or logs. Besides the fundamental buildings on the territory of the camp there is also a number of the engineer constructions like mines, piers and rails and also several smaller buildings like watch towers and stairs.

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

Chaun labour camp (Chaunlag) existed from 1951 to 1953 Except the exploitation of the uranium ore the prisoners were engaged in geological survey and road building. The population of the camp 1 September 1951 was 10 941 people, 19 June 1952 it was 7 274 people.

This video was filmed during the expedition of the GULAG History Museum under the rule of its director Roman Romanov to Chukotka in August 2015 The expedition started in Pevek and took place at the uranium camps of Chaunlag “Vostochniy” and “Severniy”. During the expedition lots of exhibits were collected. The expedition also succeeded in making the cartographical air photos of the camps, a 3D panorama was created.

The expedition contributed to the fact that the buildings and facilities of the camps of Chaulnag Dal’nostroy obtained the status of the historical monuments, that gives an opportunity to provide its temporary closing-down and also an access to the research groups.