legal basis for political repression

gulag history museum
december 2018

Dasha Vinokurova
Constantine Konovalov

Timur Bulgakov

scientific consultant
Tatiana Polyanskaya

Elena Solozobova

in december 2018 a new permanent exhibition “the gulag in people’s lives and the national history” launched in gulag history museum. we designed an installation for the new expo, called “legal basis for political repression”

the goal was to visualize how authors and leaders’ of the 1917 bolshevick revolution views on human rights and freedom, expressed in their public talks and written documents, influenced soviet law system and made political repression in the ussr of 1930–1950s possible

the installation “legal basis for policial repression” consists of two walls closing at an angle of 90 degrees, tiled with valchromat plates containing quotes and legal acts written on them. the narrative begins on the left with three basic ideas that key ussr’s architects (lenin, trotsky, buharin) built the soviet state upon: “the enemies of the people interfere with the building of the fair society”, “forced labour is a way to build socialism”, “soviet authorities rely on power, not law”. red threads lead along the development of the ideas — through legal acts — to stalin’s guidelines and “dragon laws”. the narrative symbolically ends with stalin’s giant portrait, only recognisable from distance, that visually disperses into particles when approached closely. the stages of the development are visualised through growing redness of the plates 

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