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Slave Labor in Russia’s Gulags

by Christopher A. Ferrara

Seventeen years after the supposed “consecration” of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Russia continues to suffer what can only be called the Fatima Curse — the bitter fruits of the failure simply to do what the Virgin at Fatima requested.

Since the non-consecration of Russia in 1984 (a ceremony in which Russia was never mentioned) the Vatican has conducted ceremonies in which the world, the unemployed and even “youth in search of meaning” have been consecrated or “entrusted” to Our Lady — anything and anybody but Russia.

This column has presented, and will continue to present, example after example of the results of this folly, all of which point to the same conclusion: the Russian people continue to suffer because the Vatican apparatus will not do what the Mother of God prescribed.

And now the latest example. According to the European journal The Scotsman and other international sources “Russia is continuing to operate Gulag-style labour camps where thousands of North Koreans toil under grim conditions in the mines and forests of Siberia.”

Citing sources in Moscow, the Scotsman reports that while “the camps were supposedly closed down with the end of communism, reports in Moscow say they continue to exist, with North Korea using the system as a way to pay off its £5.5 billion debt to Russia.” North Korean laborers toil in these camps for nothing or next to nothing and in return Vladimir Putin generously reduces North Korea’s debt to Russia by £35 million per year.

There is concern that conditions in these camps are no different from what they were in the early 1990s when Amnesty International reported that “in camps in the far-flung Siberian wilderness, approximately 30,000 North Koreans worked for little or no pay, sleeping in primitive barracks and wearing prison-style garb of striped shirts and blue trousers. For disobedience there were severe penalties: some prisoners were locked into all-body plaster casts or wrapped in chains. One man had his nose forcibly pierced with a needle.”

Today, as then, security at the camps is maintained by Russian police, so that ”there is an obvious element of compulsion involved.” The Scotsman observes that “the camps may be breaking anti-slavery conventions and the European Convention of Human Rights.”

Vladimir Putin’s government has no comment on the existence of the camps and they do not appear on any maps. Nor does North Korean President Kim have anything to say on the subject. In fact, questioning Kim is “impossible because he gives no interviews and Western reporters are barred from even taking his photograph.”

Ah, but Kim did make a public appearance during his recent visit to Moscow. He became “the first leader since the fall of the Soviet Union to lay a wreath at Lenin’s tomb on Red Square.”

The Fatima revisionists continue to heap upon themselves a legacy of shame.