• Yurii Finikovskyi


camp, political prisoner, Norilsk Uprising, UPA, Gulag


The Norilsk uprising was a major strike by Gulag inmates in Gorlag, a special camp mostly for political prisoners, in the summer of 1953, shortly after Joseph Stalin’s death. About 70% of inmates were Ukrainians, many of whom had been sentenced for 25 years to the so-called «Bandera Standard». It was the first major revolt within the Gulag system in 1953-1954. Between May 26 and August 4, 1953, the inmates of the Gorlag-Main camp went on strike, which lasted 69 days. This was the longest uprising in the history of the Gulag. The preconditions for the uprising can be seen as the following: the arrival of waves of prisoners to the Gorlag, who had participated in the uprisings of 1952, the death of Stalin on March 5, 1953 and the fact that the amnesty that followed his death only applied to (non-political) criminals and convicts with short prison terms, the percentage of which was very low in Gorlag. All categories of inmates took part in the uprising, with the leading roles played by former military men and participants of national liberation movements of western Ukraine, Georgia and the Baltics. Norilsk uprising combined various forms of protest – hunger strike, resignation, riot, armed uprising. One of the leaders of the uprising was Danylo Shumuk, a former employee of one of the UPA’s political divisions.
The article describes the participation of a Ukrainian political prisoner, a participant in the national liberation movement in Volyn during World War II, Danylo Shumuk in the organization of the Norilsk Uprising of Political Prisoners (June-August 1953). The process of creating a conspiratorial formation by an activist – a «Selfhelp organization», the goals, composition, methods of activity of its members, the relationship between them are shown. On the basis of domestic and foreign sources, the forms of protest of prisoners and their demands were analyzed. The main results of the struggle of political prisoners and their future fate are highlighted. It is evidence-based the Ukrainian central role in Norilsk uprising, which was one of the strongest in the history of the Gulag, and resulted its reformation.