Move over Disneyland and make room for Gulagland! That’s right Gulagland. Igor Shpektor the mayor of the town of Vorkuta, which is located 100 miles above the Artic Circle and 1,200 miles northeast of Moscow, wants to turn a former prison camp into a “reality” holiday camp for tourists looking to spice up their vacation with the experience of Soviet camp life. According to an article in the London Independent, visitors can pay $150 to $200 a day to experience snarling dogs, camp conditions, and forced labor.
Shpekor’s idea was first reported in the newspaper Novye Izvestiia. He told the newspaper visitors to the town, where over 1,000 zeks perished, have been declining with every year. “The town needs money and we have the possibility to turn Vorkuta into a tourist region.” He got the idea last year when a “whole trainload of tourists from the US, Australia, and Poland arrived wanting to see the camp.” He hopes that “Gulagland” will keep wealthy tourists coming.
When asked what he thought of the idea, human rights activist Sergei Kovalev has this to say:
I myself was in a camp in Perm. Now there is a museum Perm-36 organized there. It’s been open for 10 years and it allows residents in the region to not forget their history. Concerning the scheme of Vorkuta authorities, I am convinced that to recreate the conditions of the GULAG would hardly be successful. An authentic reproduction of life there, will most likely, fail. Although I think that it wouldn’t be a bad idea that every future prosecutors and lawmakers are held for a while in the camp. Then he would understand when they doom people.
Such is our postmodern times.