Russia’s Gulag Museum Says Prisoner Data Was Secretly Erased

A researcher at Russia’s Gulag History Museum who sounded the alarm over a secret 2014 directive ordering the destruction of data on Soviet prison camps says authorities have brushed off his complaints over the move. Sergei Prudovsky, the researcher who said he found the directive, on Saturday said he’d appealed to Russia’s Interior Ministry about the move, which reportedly called for the destruction of data on all prisoners who have now reached the age of 80—which would be almost all of them. Historians say the destruction of the last remaining documents on the Gulag prisoners could have “catastrophic consequences for studying the history of the camps.” In a Facebook post, Prudovsky said the Interior Ministry—whose archives store the records—has largely dismissed his complaint over the directive, claiming the Gulag documents are a matter for the Justice Ministry instead. The Interior Ministry also earlier denied claims that records have been wiped out, prompting historians to appeal to the presidential human rights council.