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Today in Labour History

2 August 1933
Source: Microfilm 3978-3994

Stalin Opens White Sea Canal

On 2 August 1933, the "White Sea Canal" or "Belomorkanal" was officially opened. It is a vital link between St. Petersburg (Leningrad) and the White Sea, constructed mostly by penal labourers. Working on project were about 150,000 convicts - "enemies of the people" (farmers, political prisoners, criminals). The hard labour was intended to "reform" them into good Soviet citizens. As tens of thousands died under the harsh conditions, the opening of the canal was accompanied by a huge propaganda campaign. Newspapers such as Pravda en Izvestija published articles, cartoons,and portraits of "reformed" workers.

More info: More on the White Sea Canal