Extended Essay

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  • Topic: Gulag, Soviet Union, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
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Assessment of the causes of the Kengir uprising
in the Steplag complex in the
year of 1954

By
Saidkhon Turaev
An Extended Essay
Submitted as a Candidate for the
International Baccaureate Diploma

Subject: History
Supervisor: Mr. Alex Ross
Tashkent International School
IBO World School 3076
Session: May 2011
October 5, 2010

Word Count: 3,831
Saidkhon Turaev 003076 – 017

TABLE OF CONTENTS
ABSTRACT

ii

INTRODUCTION

1

FIRST REASON: DEATH OF STALIN

3

SECOND REASON: REGIME OF THE CAMP

5

THIRD REASON: UKRAINIAN LEADERSHIP

7

FOURTH REASON: INTRO OF THE LARGE GROUP OF CRIMINALS

9

CONCLUSION

10

APPENDIX

11

WORK CITED

12

[i]

Saidkhon Turaev 003076 – 017

Tashkent International School: IBO World School 3076
Tashkent Uzbekistan

Author:
Title:
Supervisor:
Session:

Turaev, Saidkhon (003076-017)
Assessment of the causes of the Kengir uprising in the Steplag complex in the year of 1954 Mr. Alex Ross
May 2011

Abstract
While studying the Soviet history, very few people learn about the uprisings that had happened in Gulags after Stalin‟s death. One of the key gulag uprisings which happened in 1954 was the Kengir uprising which took place in Steplag camp located in Jezkazgan region in Kazakhstan. Unlike any other gulag uprisings the Kengir uprising marked the end of the Soviet gulags. However in the modern day world, very little is known about this uprising and about the factors which have caused it.

General agreement seems to be around the several ideas like: the death of Stalin, the regime of the camp, the Ukrainian leadership and the introduction of the group of criminals into the camps. So therefore it is important for a historian to assess all these factors and determine which of them caused the Kengir uprising. It was very hard to find any sufficient primary sources to this event, due to the fact that the most Gulag archives are still classified. So therefore the research was focused on circumstantial evidence. The investigation includes works of Alexander Solzhenitsyn “The Gulag Archipelago” and many secondary sources, written by the western historians. Although Solzhenitsyn wasn‟t there when the uprising happened, he remains one of famous sources who dedicated entire chapter for this uprising.

The investigation found that three factors: the death of Stalin, the Ukrainian leadership and the regime of the camp were the main causes for the uprising. Those three factors were interlinked within each other and only together they were responsible for causing the Kengir uprising. [Word Count 256]

[ii]

Saidkhon Turaev 003076 – 017

Introduction
The Kengir Uprising of 1954 was one of the important events in Soviet history. It was the rebellion organized by the large group of prisoners in the Steplag camp in the city of the Jezkazgan in 16th of May till 26th of June. The uprising continued for forty days until it was brutally crushed by the Soviet tanks. Very little is known today about this uprising and about the reasons which could‟ve caused it. There are different historical positions on what could‟ve been the reason for the uprising. The Steplag camp was one of the labor complexes of the Karaganda gulag or s imply Karlag. Karlag was founded in 1931 in the city of Karaganda, Kazakhstan, and it served the USSR for about thirty years as a labor complex. The NKVD and the MVD use to send people of different nationalities to this gulag. Many Nazi camp prisoners, who were “liberated” by the Soviet Union after World War II, were also sent to the Karlag. Among those prisoners there were some fearsome nationalistic groups like the Ukrainians, who hated and didn‟t trust in the Soviet system like other USSR satellite states. It was estimated that there were about 800,000 inmates in Karaganda gulag, 20,000 of which were located in the Steplag camp during the Kengir uprising. 1 It was truly remarkable how small group of prisoners was ready to...
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