Russian cities that arose from the Gulag era

Magadan, Russia – Source:

Below is a list of some of the larger cities that were founded, built, or significantly enhanced through Gulag-era forced labor. If the city was founded during the Soviet Union’s Gulag era, the date is provided in parenthesis. Otherwise, the city was greater enlarged or industrialized by forced labor during this period. The 2010 population of each city is also provided.

  • Magnitogorsk = 407,775 – steel making center
  • Syktyvkar = 235,006 – administrative and cultural center
  • Noril’sk (1935) = 175,365 – nickle mining city
  • Ukhta (1929) = 99,591 – oil production city
  • Magadan (1930) = 95,982 – gold mining city and transportation node
  • Vorkuta (1936) = 70,548 – coal mining city
  • Pechora (1932) = 43,105
  • Inta = 32,080 – coal mining city

These cities will forever remain as solemn testaments to the back-breaking labor and horrific living conditions that awaited those who were sent to forced labor/prison camps during the Soviet era, as well as the achievements made by these prisoners, despite the many perils they endured.

Ukhta, Russia – Source:


  • Applebaum, Anne – Gulag: A History
  • for each city and its population
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