Home » Law & Government » Meet the Kengir Gulag Uprising, where inmates assumed control over a camp. Due to the large body of educated inmates the 40 days of freedom saw the creation of plays, an ex-noble organizing a café, priests organizing marriages, engineers creating improvised radios and a hydroelectric powerstation

Meet the Kengir Gulag Uprising, where inmates assumed control over a camp. Due to the large body of educated inmates the 40 days of freedom saw the creation of plays, an ex-noble organizing a café, priests organizing marriages, engineers creating improvised radios and a hydroelectric powerstation

Kengir uprising

Approximate location of Kengir camp in Kazakhstan

The Kengir uprising was a prisoner rebellion that occurred in Kengir (Steplag), a Soviet labor camp for political prisoners, during May and June of 1954. Its duration and intensity distinguished it from other Gulag rebellions during the same period (see Vorkuta uprising).

After the murder of some of their fellow prisoners by guards, Kengir inmates rebelled and seized the entire camp compound, holding it for weeks and creating a period of freedom for themselves unique in the history of the Gulag. After a rare alliance between the criminals and political prisoners, the prisoners succeeded in forcing the guards and camp administration to flee the camp and effectively quarantine it from … Continue Reading (20 minute read)

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