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'Death Island': Britain's 'concentration camp' in Russia

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Auteur Bericht

Geregistreerd op: 11-6-2007
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BerichtGeplaatst: 20 Okt 2017 8:28    Onderwerp: 'Death Island': Britain's 'concentration camp' in Russia Reageer met quote

When British soldiers were sent to Russia after the Russian Revolution their main enemies were the Germans - their opponents in World War One - but they also found themselves fighting and imprisoning Bolsheviks. In the process they opened what Russians regard as the first concentration camp in their country.
The boat sails down the River Dvina past onion-domed churches, lumber yards and logs floating in the water. Finally it reaches the open sea and an hour later a brown smudge appears on the horizon.
Getting closer, I can make out a lighthouse and a few radio towers. As my companions and I jump off the boat and walk along a deserted beach a pack of dogs surrounds us, barking furiously. They are not used to visitors. The only people who live on this remote spot today are border guards and a couple of meteorologists.

Back in the Soviet era, boatloads of day trippers came to the island of Mudyug to visit a museum. It was located among the remains of a prison camp - one very different from the scores of old Gulag outposts scattered across the Russian north and Siberia. For one thing, it was set up as far back as 1918. Even more remarkably, the people in charge were were British and French.
My colleague Natalia Golysheva, who grew up in the regional capital, Arkhangelsk - Archangel as it used to be known in English - says the place had a fearsome reputation. Locals called it Death Island.
"When I was little, people said if you don't behave, the Whites will come and take you to Mudyug," she says. "I didn't understand but when I tried to ask questions - 'What is Mudyug? Who are the Whites?' - my grandmother just said shush and turned her face away, meaning the conversation was over."

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