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Off to Camp in Siberia

Between the 16th and 19th centuries, the non-indigenous populations of Siberia began to grow slowly, beginning with fur traders who came to the Arctic looking for sable pelts.

But other people also began to take up residency in the Russian northern wilderness, although not very willingly.

Under the rule of the Russian tsars, over a million prisoners were "exiled" to forced labor camps in Siberia.

After the Russian Revolution the prison camps were closed down. However, they were later reopened by Joseph Stalin who got rid of people who opposed him by sending them off to what became known as Glavnoye Upravleniye Lagere - or "gulags".

The camps were horrendous places. Located in north-eastern Siberia, temperatures could drop to almost -90.4F / -68C degrees during the winter. Proper care of prisoners was not a high priority, and it was not unusual for up to 30% of the inmates to die each year.

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