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No. 50 Abstract

Simon Ertz, "Making Sense of the Gulag: Analyzing and Interpreting the Function of the Stalinist Camp System."

This paper asserts that approaches focusing on administrative agents and their policies are indispensable in identifying the essential functions of the Stalinist camp system. To illustrate this point, it presents three interrelated methods suited for research in this direction. Dwelling on the insights gained in the process, it proceeds to demonstrate that the Stalinist camp system, while operating within a set of politically and ideologically defined parameters, functioned largely according to economic principles, and concludes by explaining why this is not a paradox.