Death of Stalin 5 March 1953

 

On 5 March 1953, Stalin dies at the age of 74.

Millions of Soviet citizens and Communists throughout the world are in mourning.

For prisoners in the Gulag camps there is at last some hope of liberation. All of them recall that memorable day when the news of his death is announced at morning appel.

In the remote villages of Siberia and Central Asia, where hundreds of thousands of families have been exiled for life, reactions are mixed. Some children come home from school upset by the anguish and despair of their teachers and friends; some cry, others are relieved. At home, their parents are full of hope and their eyes shine in a new way, but they remain discreet for fear of the consequences if they display their joy too openly. 

Stalin’s death is followed by various amnesties, major reforms and the end of the mass concentration camp system. But liberation and return sometimes take long years..