European Memories

of the Gulag

#Research  Project


The research project behind this platform, now backed by French National Institute for Demographic Studies (INED) and the Centre for Russian, Caucasian and Central European Studies (CERCES, EHESS/CNRS), addresses forced population transfer in the 20th century within the broad area of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. This took various forms of forced migration, depending on the period and official policies, with entire population groups leaving their homelands for forced residence or settlement in unknown territories.

The study of the conditions and trajectories of these exiles, the relationship between individual experiences and the political and administrative history of government decisions, the connection between bottom-up and top-down history, is a major focus of the project. The project, covering the whole of Eastern Europe, focuses on analyses and comparisons within that vast area, and also includes the possibility of comparative research with other areas on clearly defined and parametered themes.

The documentation collected for the project since 2008 (and in the future) comprises a wide range of historical sources, public and private written archives, oral testimony, photographs from public and private collections, documentary videos, and institutional documents. One of the project’s great strengths is that it is based on an existing database of more than 200 interviews in open access linked to documents, which provides a rich source of investigation for young researchers and doctoral students as well as experienced specialists. This database in particular was created from 2007 and 2012, for a project funded by CERCEC, RFI, and INED.

The initial PROJECT

The initial project, which involved conducting the first 160 interviews in 13 countries, was backed by the Centre for Russian, Caucasian, and Central European Studies (CERCEC, EHESS/CNRS), Radio France Internationale (RFI), and the French Institute for Demographic Studies (INED, Paris). Other partners were the Marc Bloch Centre (Berlin), the French Research Centre in Humanities and Social Sciences (CEFRES, Prague) and the French–Russian Studies Centre (CEFR, Moscow). Il a conduit au développement du site-musée virtuel "Archives sonores : Mémoires européennes du Goulag", à l'origine du présent site. Il a aussi conduit à la réalisation d'un ensemble d'émissions de La marche du monde, produite par Valérie Nivelon.

The work has received support from the French National Research Agency (Agence nationale de la recherche - programme ANR Corpus – 2007-2012), the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS), the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS).


The project is overseen by an international advisory committee and an editorial committee:

The international advisory committee will be called upon to ensure international visibility for the website (which will operate in at least two languages but for greater access, parts of it will be in four – English, French, Polish and Russian). The committee’s members will be academics from various countries, specialists in this field in one way or another. Their mission will be to oversee the project’s research perimeter and use their knowledge of the international nature of its field to encourage research synergies based particularly on the specific features of the material available, other contributions to the website, and any other resources (especially sources). This will promote both the dynamic platform and the concept of internationally open-access publication of scholarship.

The editorial committee will comprise publishing and documentation professionals (INED team and outside advisers) and French specialists in this field. Its purpose is to ensure editorial consistency and monitor the innovative nature of the website, particularly the connections between its use by the general public and researchers. It will also appraise the academic standards of contributions, harmonize their use of various media (sound, archives, video). It will ensure the editorial standards of the whole website (format, quality of writing, sound, documents, photographs, etc.).

The review procedure for submissions as seen by the Editorial Committee is based on the standard practice of scholarly publishing, whereby each proposed contribution is submitted to two outside reviewers, specialists in that thematic field, whether geographical, historical, or methodological (peer review system). If the two disagree, the Editorial Committee asks the Advisory Committee or some third-party appraiser for broader criteria to be used in its decision. Any submission that requires reworking after the opinions and criticisms expressed may not be re-submitted to the Editorial Committee more than twice.

International advisory committee:

Currently being set up

Editorial committee:

Alain Blum (Chair, historian and demographer, INED and EHESS,), Marta Craveri (historian, Fondation de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme), Juliette Denis (lecturer, historian), Denis Eckert (geographer, CNRS), Véronique Ginouvès (research engineer at CNRS, sound archives director at Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l’Homme), Catherine Gousseff (historian, CNRS), Marie-Hélène Gatto (Grand Équipement Documentaire Condorcet), Anouche Kunth (historian, CNRS), Emilia Koustova (historian, lecturer-researcher, University of Strasbourg), Guillaume Le Roux (geographer, junior researcher, INED), Marie-Paule Reydet (editor, Éditions de l’Ined), Karin Sohler (reference librarian, open archive director INED), Wanda Romanowski (head of Éditions de l’Ined), Irina Tcherneva (historian)

Editorial team:

Marie-Paule Reydet, editor; Wanda Romanowski, head of Éditions de l’Ined; Karin Sohler, reference librarian.