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system of prisons and labor camps, especially for political detainees, in the former Soviet Union; rough acronym from Russian Glavnoe upravlenie ispravitel'no-trudovykh lagerei "Chief Administration of Corrective Labor Camps," set up in 1931.
A system of prison camps inside the former Soviet Union used for political prisoners. Under Joseph Stalin, millions of prisoners in these camps died from starvation and maltreatment. This system was given worldwide attention in the writings of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Gulag is an acronym in Russian of the name meaning Chief Administration of Corrective Labor Camps.