The Perm-36 gulag museum in the forests of Western Siberia is under new management -- and it's easy to feel the difference when touring the new team's recently opened first exhibition.
The new presentation is devoted not to the repressive forced-labor practices of the Stalin era, but to timber production at the camp and its contribution to the Soviet victory in World War II.
"During times of great tribulations, during times of profound decisions for the country and the fate of the people, no one remained indifferent," Perm Oblast Culture Minister Igor Gladnev said at the exhibition's opening on July 9. "And this is precisely the main factor, thanks to which we achieved the main victory in the history of humanity. Today we are experiencing a deficit of faith, a deficit of unity. And these are not just pretty words -- we must bring them to some practical form."
"So, glory to the heroes," he concluded. "Glory to those who fought, who laid down their lives in the name of our great victory and the preservation of our country."
I did mention not so long ago that it seemed appropriate to brush up on the history of the gulags.
Which makes it understandable that the Russians are so upset about the prospect of losing tens of millions of potential heroes in Ukraine and Georgia:
Any political game concerning NATO expansion into Georgia and Ukraine is filled with the most serious, most profound geopolitical consequences for all of Europe," Russia's permanent representative to NATO, Alexander Grushko, told LifeNews television channel.
"I hope that people in Brussels and other capitals fully understand the danger of this game, the danger of the cards some forces are still trying to play. This would have catastrophic consequences," he told the Russian channel.
So glory to the heroes!
Glory to the Soviet leaders who ordered the prisoners into the wilderness with little to survive! Glory to the administrators who worked them to death! Glory to the prison guards who kept them there! And glory to the prisoners who lost their lives or health to preserve a brutal communist dictatorship!
And glory to future heroes!