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The Gulag After StalinRedefining Punishment in Khrushchev's Soviet Union, 1953-1964$
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Jeffrey S. Hardy

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501702792

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501702792.001.0001

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Khrushchev’s Reforms and the Late (And Post-)Soviet Gulag

Khrushchev’s Reforms and the Late (And Post-)Soviet Gulag

(p.201) Conclusions Khrushchev’s Reforms and the Late (And Post-)Soviet Gulag
The Gulag After Stalin

Jeffrey S. Hardy

Cornell University Press

This chapter assesses Khrushchev's reforms in the penal sphere. The reforms of the Khrushchev period had an important lasting effect on the Soviet penal system. This certainly holds true in terms of the Gulag's permanent reduction in size, but it also applies to the reorientation of Gulag aims and the resultant improved conditions experienced by its inmates. Although certain inmate privileges were reduced or eliminated in the early 1960s at the culmination of the “camp is not a resort” campaign, many of the most important prisoner-friendly reforms of the 1950s, such as parole and the eight-hour workday, remained. Despite certain continuities, therefore, the Gulag did not return to a state of unchecked (and even abetted) violence, grueling labor, and oppressive living conditions—the defining features of the Stalinist penal system. De-Stalinization in the penal sphere was a real and enduring legacy of the Khrushchev era.

Keywords:   Soviet penal system, penal reform, Gulag, Nikita Sergeevich Khrushchev, de-Stalinization

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