Twenty years after the “strange death of Soviet communism,” the task of coming to terms with the twentieth century’s first and most important exercise in applied ideology is still a work in progress. In its later stages, an ideological regime based on the twin pillars of violence and lies was no longer capable of renewal or anything other than feeble self-justification. For all intents and purposes, the regime of the Lie self-destructed. But during the seventy years of its existence, the Soviet Union did untold damage to the bodies and souls of human beings. It is surely time for a reckoning. Indeed, all the material is available for coming to terms with the “Gulag” in the most capacious sense of that term, not merely the network of camps that were ubiquitous during the Lenin and Stalin eras and beyond, but also the systematic violence and repression that were endemic to Communism as such. A few notable scholars such as Michael...


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