of the Gulag
Building a village
Rimgaudas Ruzgys describes the building of Moyga village
“The place was called Moyga. As usual out there, they had only built a few huts, but everyone had to be housed. So they dumped three or four families per room, as many as they could. In the middle of the room there was a barrel with holes in it and a chimney coming out to heat the inside a bit.
The door had no hallway, it opened directly outside. When we started heating in winter, it was about –40°C outside, bitter cold. Inside, the walls were of unseasoned wood and the water condensed and ran down them; you had drops falling on your head. We had no floor because there was no sawmill.
So we had to make floor planks by splitting logs. We split the logs into planks, which we used to make a sort of floor. The same for the ceiling: we had to cover it up a bit and we used that type of plank. We took great pine logs, two or three metres long with no branches because they were easier to split. We put a layer of earth on the floor to make it warmer. When they built the huts, they didn’t dig any foundations. They built on tree stumps or posts. Instead of foundations, we piled up about a metre of earth against the sides up to the windows so the cold would not get in from below. That’s how we spent our first winter.”