Memories of the GULAG

Since 2013, the Museum has been working on My GULAG as an ongoing project aimed at creating an archive of video interviews with people who went through the repression and the GULAG. The Museum’s Visual Anthropology Studio interviews former GULAG inmates and employees as well as their families and anyone who has access to memories of the GULAG through documents, archive materials, family chronicles, and various other artifacts.

The Studio creates films based on these recordings which are then screened at the Museum's permanent exhibition and its cinema. They become a basis for travelling exhibitions and they get published on the Internet. Each film is a story of an interviewee or their family members who went through arrests, investigations, and sentencing. However, each film also presents a firsthand account of a personal tragedy sometimes revealed for the very first time.

The Museum needs your help in expanding the memoir database

The GULAG History Museum has already recorded around 200 interviews, mostly with Muscovites. In order to expand the memoir database covering all regions of Russia and abroad, the Museum requires the assistance of volunteers who will be ready to conduct and record interviews by themselves.

In 2017, in order to expand the project’s geography, the Studio released and presented guidelines that are primarily addressed to relatives of people who suffered from the repression and are ready to share their memories. It will also be of value to public organizations and regional memory museums. The guidelines include seven questionnaires developed by the Museum’s staff as well as video interviewing tips and technical requirements for professional film crews.

The witnesses of the tragic events of Russian history are fewer in number with each passing year. They give their accounts rarely therefore recording their memories is an extremely important and urgent task. These interviews allow us to preserve the most important pages of family history and view them within the context of national history.

If you want to share your recording, please e-mail us at