КГУ "Карагандинская областная юношеская библиотека имени Жайыка Бектурова"

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The history of Karlag is inseparable from GULAG history

The Karaganda labor camp (Karlag) was organized in 1930. In May, 1930 the resolution CPC USSR «About the organization of the Kazakh labor camp (KazITLAG) was accepted. In the document it is told:« Considering the political and economic and agrarian and cultural value created by camps of special function of OPPA in Kazakhstan at a forced-labor camp in the Karkaraly district of big combined state farm, the Council of Peoples Commissars decides:

1. To agree with National commissariat of agriculture’s conclusion, and a request of the Kazakh management of camps of OPPA of special function about branch of the continuous ground massif in the area of 110.000 hectares, except the territory and structures of Koyandy fair, in termless and gratuitous using — to satisfy.

2. National commissariat of agriculture KAZSSR immediately to make land management of the alienated area, having allocated for works technicians. Work to make labor and control facilities camps of OGPU of special function in Kazakhstan».

According to this resolution on May 13, 1930 the Council of Peoples Commissars of KAZSSR makes the decision on branch to camps of OPPA of special function in Kazakhstan in gratuitous, termless using of the continuous ground massif in the area of 110.000 hectares and transfer of inhabited constructions and services of cultural point of Besoba and Koyandy fair of the Karkaraly district.

However in a year, other decision on December 19, 1931 was made: «The first office "KAZITLAG" — state farm "Giant" of this number to reorganize into the Karaganda separate labor camp of OGPU called in abbreviated form by "Karlag OPPA", with direct submission to "GULAG" and a site of Management of camp in the village Dolinka».

So, the Karaganda separate labor camp (Karlag) was educated on December 19, 1931, the center of camp is located in "Dolinka’s" village, in 45 km from Karaganda. 120.000 hectares of arable and suitable lands, 41.000 hectares of the haying areas are allocated for "Karlag". Extent of the territory Karlag from the North to the south — 300 km and from the East to the west — 200 km. Besides, out of this territory there were two offices: Akmola, located in 350 km from the camp center, and the Balkhash office located in 650 km from the center of camp. Creation of large food base for roughly developing coal metallurgical industry of the Central Kazakhstan was one of main goals of the organization of Karlag: Karaganda coal basin, Zhezkazgan and Balkhash copper-smelting combines. Besides, the labor was necessary for creation and development of these industries.

Representations that Karlag was organized from scratch, that is in the uninhabited hungry steppe of the Central Kazakhstan are incorrect. On all huge territory taken away to camp there were settlements of Kazakhs, Russian, Germans and Ukrainians. It is known that Kazakhs from time immemorial occupied these lands, and Germans, Russian and Ukrainians moved on these lands in 1906 — 1910. "Dolinka's" village acquired the right of independent settlement unit the resolution of Akmolinsk board from December 10, 1909. By 1911 here lived 2630 people — Germans, Russian and Ukrainians. In the territory Karlag there were 4 thousand Kazakh yurtas with the population of 80 thousand people, 1200 yards of the German, Russian and Ukrainian population.

In 1930 — 1931 compulsory eviction of the population began. For this "operation" People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs armies were involved. Germans, Russian and Ukrainians were moved, mainly, to Telman, Osakarov and Nurin regions of the Karaganda area. Especially tragically there was a destiny of Kazakhs: from the northern part allocated for camp of the territory many of them were moved to Karaganda and the next areas. All this coincided with a cannibalization, with confiscation of a large number of cattle, sheep, horses and camels. The confiscated cattle was transferred to specially created organization «The East — meat» state farm "Giant". After eviction of local population empty lands occupied numerous columns of prisoners. They spread on all territory of camp: constructed the railway, barracks for prisoners, room for cattle, barracks for AIPR, housing for commanding structure. For construction old constructions were often used, «was strictly forbidden to use for construction an adobe from burial grounds, on this ban was sometimes broken. The fact of destruction of burial grounds took place in the Zhanarkin region of the Karaganda area. About it the first secretary of a district committee of party Z.Suleymenov sent the special letter addressed to the first secretary of the Karaganda regional committee of Gallaydin’s party of the following contents:« In the course of a construction of office of Karlag in the territory of the area in natural boundaries Ortau, Alabas, Zhaydak-su, workers of Karlag destroyed graves of the Kazakh notable people. A grave of the son known batyr Zhidebay Syzdyk, tens graves were destroyed, turned into a farmyard».

Management of Karlag submitted only to GULAG of OPPA (People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs) in Moscow. Republican and regional party and Soviet bodies of influence on camp activity practically had no. It was formation of colonial type with the mother country in Moscow. In essence, it was the state in the state. It had the real power, the tool, vehicles, contained mail and telegraph. Its numerous offices — "points" — were coordinated in a uniform economic mechanism, to the state plan.

The structure of Karlag was quite bulky and had numerous departments: administrative (AD), registration and distributive (ORW), control and planned (CGTA), cultural and educational (CPD), a human resources department for civilians, supply, trade, financial, transport, a political department. The last department of Karlag monthly sent in management of GULAG of 17 types of the reporting, all structure of camp administration was engaged in the same. High profitability (cheap labor, the minimum cost of funds, low amortization expenses) promoted production expansion.

The main massif of an economy of Karlag was located in the territory of the Karaganda and Akmola areas. If in 1931 the territory Karlag made 53.000 hectares, in 1941 — 1780650 hectares. If in 1931 Karlag had 14 offices, 64 sites, in 1941 — 22 offices, 159 sites, and in 1953 — the 26th office, 192 camp points. Each office, in turn, is distributed on a number of the economic divisions called by sites, points, farms. In camp — 106 cattle-breeding farms, 7 garden sites and 10 arable sites.

Prisoners are placed on all territory Karlag. Offices and sites are located from the camp center at distance from 5 to 650 km. The territory of the Karaganda labor camp made in 1950 — 2087646 hectares or 20876 sq.km, including an arable land — 111886 hectares, hayfields — 337670 hectares and pastures — 1.378,999 hectares.

Specific weight of agricultural industry in camp made 58, %, the industries — 41,5 %. The agricultural industry had two profiles: the plant growing occupied specific weight — 51,8 %, animal husbandry — 48,2 %.  

Sometimes the number of prisoners grew to 75 thousand people. These people, having sustained term of tests by a camp mode, having passed through moral and physical overloads, humiliations, found forces not to become embittered for the violence unfairly made over them, for the best years pulled out from life. For the entire period of existence of Karlag it visited more than 1 million prisoners which left an indelible trace in the history of the Central Kazakhstan.

Spassk — a prisoner-of-war camp

The Spassk special camp office of OPPA-NCIA-MB is located in 45 km from Karaganda. Spassk — the former center of the large company of the foreign businessmen who have located in pre-revolutionary Kazakhstan.

Till 1931 Spassk was the center of the Karaganda area. In March, 1931 it was transferred in the order of the Karaganda labor camp (Karlag). Later in Spassk the separate Sandy camp allocated from Karlag — a terrible place was educated, from there very few people came back the live. If Carabas was gate of Karlag, Spassk — his mass grave of Sick prisoners sent to die in Spassk — «the all-Union invalid of special camp». And till this moment the uncountable set of hillocks — the former graves remained.

The order of the deputy People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs of the USSR Tchernyshev from June 24 in Spassk organized 1941 special prisoner-of-war camp. The camp had two offices — the central and second office "Kokuzek", completed at the expense of interned, allocated of the main camp with complete isolation from prisoners of war. Distance between offices — 500 meters.

Normal and maximum capacity of both camp’s department was following: а) the central office for prisoners of war, normal capacity — 5000 people, maximum — 6000 people; в) a camp’s department "Kokuzek" for interned, normal capacity — 650 people, maximum — 1100 people. In total was 19 army posts serving 259 people of special protection. The camp had group of local search in settlements adjacent to camp, (in radius of 100 km.). From an asset of local population assistance brigades on detention of running prisoners of war are created. In total there were 46 brigades which total made 214 people.

The camp totaled in the maintaining 22 offices. They are located in Karaganda, Temirtau, Saran, and also in Balkhash on distance and 650 km from Karaganda, one office in Zholymbet's settlement of Akmola area at distance of 360 km from Karaganda. Other offices were placed within Karaganda: Kirzavod, Maykuduk, Prishakhtinsk, station Big - Mikhailovka, etc.

The first echelon with prisoners of war arrived in Spassk in August, 1941, in number of 1436 people. In two years the number of prisoners of war in camp increased almost twice. In ten years of existence of camp about 40 thousand prisoners of war, representatives of 26 nationalities here visited.

The number of the arrived prisoners of war in camp sharply increased in the second half of 1944. If January, 1944 in camp contained 2529 prisoners of war, in October of this year their number reached 11583.

In October-November, 1945 the camp received five echelons of prisoners of war of Japanese army, in number of 11608 people.

Prisoners of war as labors it began to be used on mines, brick, mechanical-repair plants, the construction enterprises.

In trusts "Karaganda coal", "Mine build", "Housing build", "Metallurgist build", "Railway build" and 9537 people worked at other enterprises in 1945, and in 1946 — 18592 persons, in 1949 — 15 thousand people.

In the Karaganda coal basin a lot of work on training of prisoners of war for works on mines was carried out. For example, for 1945 1162 persons, among them were trained by a course method: bulk diggers — 225 people, timber - men — 452 persons, mechanics — 159 people, kerf driver — 85 people, drifters — 11 people etc. Besides, are trained by an individual and brigade method 1753 persons, among them bulk diggers — 800 people, timber men — 200 people, drifters — 250 etc.

For implementation of the daily dress task by the management of camp it was instructed: «To detain on work of a brigade of the prisoners of war who have not executed the dress on their fault, and 3 more hours» are authorized to stay over 8 hour working days. Special protection is attached to objects. They were obliged to achieve unconditional performance by all prisoners of war of 100 % of performance standard. Employees of camp were constantly awarded by prisoners of war for an over fulfillment of production plans. In September, 1946 got a premium (from 150 to 1200 rubles) 201 workers, in October — 219 employees of camp.

In mines where prisoners of war worked, there were serious violations, the addition ten-day periods civilian workers at the expense of prisoners of war practised. On August 14, 1945 on No. mine 3 Kirovcoal trusts the plan of a replaceable task of a pas a site of No. 2 coal mining’s made 88 tons, 135 tons or 153,4 % were actually extracted. 5 people of civilians, 17 prisoners of war, from which 10 bulk digger worked. This day bulk digger of civilians in this change weren't. The foreman filled the official report on not working workers civilians. On a site No. 7 of this mine the foreman wrote down implementation of the plan of coal mining on civilians where 22 prisoners of war and 9 civilians worked.

In camp among prisoners of war there was very high mortality. According to incomplete data, from 1942 to 1946 mortality of prisoners of war made more than 7 thousand people. Only for 1945 2430 people died. Mortality on the Japanese contingent for 1945-1949 looks as follows: in 1945 — 49 people, in 1946 — 228 people, in 1947 — 149 people, in 1948 — 92 persons, in 1945 — 38 people. In total — 556 people. Main diagnoses: tuberculosis and dystrophy. In camp necessary actions for improvement and preservation of the contingent weren't carried out. The sanitary condition in barracks was very bad. Sometimes in the camp department there was a mass poisoning of the contingents of prisoners of war. To them in due time medical care didn't appear. For example, in 12 and 15 camp department in infirmary 96 patients with dysentery arrived, to them within 3 — 4 days any help didn't render. In camp 10 doctors, 6 nurses, 4 medical assistants and 11 nurses worked. They physically couldn't serve in due time all patients in camp. Constantly in special hospital was from 1000 to 3000 thousand patients.

In barracks the established normal temperature wasn't supported, was constant cold, during winter time, and external doors of barracks weren't closed. In 17 camp department there was a mass frostbite of prisoners of war number of 44 people, from them: The I degrees - 14, the II degrees — 24, the III degrees — 6 people. At arrival of prisoners of war in infirmary on the treatment, values available at them (hours, rings, money, etc.) weren't accepted for storage, and remained at the patient. This most created conditions for plunder.

Illegal communication of employees of camp with the contingents interned and prisoners of war, buying up and resale of valuable things and subjects took place.

Among prisoners of war there were cases of escapes. In 1944 5 escapes and 3 attempts to escape are made. For 1946 ran from camp 41 prisoners of war, from them: Germans — 6, the Romanian — 14, Japanese — 13, Hungarians — 4, Moldavians — 2.

With a view of strengthening of protection of camp in days of holidays and prevention of possible excesses, the conclusion of prisoners of war to work for a camp zone was forbidden. And also on holidays the strengthened protection of camp sites, by exposure of additional porter posts and patrols on safety of camp sites and the prevention of possible escapes of prisoners of war and interned was established. Before holidays universal survey of all things of prisoners of war, and also rooms occupied by them was made to withdraw from them the things forbidden to storage and subjects.

The Spassk camp was considered as particular treatment camp in system of Karlag therefore not casually the convicts, especially dangerous "criminals" constantly directed in Karlag. The Spassk camp till 1956 remained as a part of the Karaganda labor camp.

Karlag— Steplag

The city building of Zhezkazgan and mining and metallurgical combine was begun in 1936. In 1940 on the river bank Kengir, on a place of the former summer camp was created the USSR People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs large camp — Zhezkazgan. All operating and objects of Big Zhezkazgan under construction were transferred to the jurisdiction by People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs, and all this began to be called «as Zhezkazgan labor camp and People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs combine», and a platform of a city building of Zhezkazgan — the Kengir construction area of People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs».

More than 7 thousand prisoners worked at industrial facilities and construction. At first built a dam of the Kengir reservoir and combined heat and power plant. Strengths of prisoners laid a branch line in length more than 400 kilometers from station Zharyk to station Kengir.

Due to the expansion of objects of construction number of prisoners constantly increased. On mines 3117 prisoners, worked at railway construction to Zhezkazgan manganese mine — 2731, on Zhezkazgan mine — 2100, on other industrial facilities — 1553, on civil construction — 1901, on production of Baikonur coal — 300, on agricultural works — 338 people. For 1941 the combine and camp mastered 52 million rubles of capital investments and extracted 53 thousand tons of copper ore with the contents in it 1500 tons of copper. For January 1, 1942 at combine only 1784 civilians, including 780 workers were registered. And prisoners there were 12040 people. Besides, there was about one thousand people of protection and camp administration. Same year new replenishment of prisoners arrived. Number of workers on mines considerably increased. In 1942 605 thousand tons of copper ore (19800 tons of copper) were already extracted. The extracted ores went to Balkhash, Karsakpay medical plant and on plants of Ural. In the first years of war four earlier thrown mines were put into operation, five mines are turned from auxiliary in extracting, the first large mine No. 31 is installed.

In 1942 on desert coast of the steppe small river of Ulken Zhezdy there were about two tens temporary barracks where the concluded builders and the operating staff of future Zhezkazgan manganese mine were placed. 38 days later after the solution of SNK USSR and the mine construction, on June 12, 1942 the first tons of manganese ore were extracted and sent to plants consumers.

In days of war the Zhezkazgan mine substantially satisfied needs for manganese of Magnitogorsk and Kuznetsk iron and steel works. Results of big labor heroism of prisoners speak that brought the most hardworking workers to camp, highly skilled experts and technical officers. In days of the Great Patriotic War the powerful wir bastion of Zhezkazgan gave to defense industry of the USSR more than a half of all copper and 70 percent of manganese.

In 1941 — 1942 in Zhezkazgan camp were for counterrevolutionary crimes — 1830, for banditry and murder — 548, for illegal transition of border — 108, for desertion and war crimes — 477, for other crimes — 9050.

And so, «for other crimes» sat in anything not guilty people: workers, collective farmers, the engineers who have got here on orders of People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs in quality labor. They were in camp not because in something were guilty, but because were necessary on buildings, mines and mines.

In March, 1945 on the basis of Kengir office of Karlag the camp No. 50 for prisoners of war was created. By the end of the year it was transformed to camp No. 39. The first echelon of prisoners of war of Germans in number of 8 thousand people arrived in Kengir on April 23, 1945.

Till 1946 the Zhezkazgan labor camp was in structure of Karlag of People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs for especially dangerous categories of criminals of «enemies of the people», «traitors of the homeland» and "counter-revolutionaries".

If Karlag is created by a principle of imperial Russia as correctional labor colony, Steplag — by a principle of the German concentration camps. If Karlag, generally went in for agricultural industry, prisoners of Steplag worked only at the industrial enterprises. The former prisoner of camp Rashat Ahmetov tells: «We lived as in fascist concentration camps. Here too each prisoner was given the special code number. Us by family name never called, only according to codes numbers. In each brigade — on 15 — 20 people.

Prisoners worked at copper production. Drilling was dry, the dust of dead rock caused fast silicosis and tuberculosis. Living conditions of prisoners were very heavy. At prisoners many not contents for the rights curtailed by GULAG were broken them even collected: them badly fed and treated, at them constantly scoffed (an unreasonable use of weapons, beatings of prisoners etc.).

All this caused deaf discontent which gradually developed into disobedience. On May 16, 1954 in Steplag the well-known revolt which shook all system of GULAG began. Revolt of prisoners of Steplag proceeded forty days. Within 40 days prisoners conducted the organized resistance to the authorities. At the head of revolt there were representatives of the military intellectuals of the Soviet Army, released of German captivity and without change sent in Soviet "captivity". It was courageous and resolute people.

During revolt Zhezkazgan was visited by the minister of a state security of the USSR Serov, Minister of Internal Affairs Kruglov, General prosecutor Rudenko, chief of GULAG Long, etc.

Revolt was suppressed by means of military equipment and parts of regular army.

Heads of resistance arrested. The killed and wounded was much, according to stories of eyewitnesses — 600 people, on materials of a production planning section of Kengir — more than 700 people».

Kengir resistance of prisoners is of great importance in the history of existing and existing camps. After Kengir revolt were liquidated unbearable special camps in all system of GULAG.



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