Have you ever had the opportunity to walk on a pile of human bones?
Although it sounds morbid, that's what hundreds of people do Kolimá highway in Russia, a road that was built by the gulags during the time of Stalin.
Many people do not know that in the 30 years of the last century in the vast and remote region of Kolimá, in the middle of Siberia, they built one of the longest and most terrible roads in the world.
The Kolimá highway built on human bodies
It is not a legend without a base, certainly the Kolimá highway it was built with hundreds, and possibly thousands, of human corpses.
The construction of this highway started because it was necessary to transport the rich resources extracted from that area, as well as to transfer large military contingents to this part of the country.
There was nothing strange until that moment that a road of this size was built in this part of Russia, but the detail was in the way it was planned to build it.
As labor was not abundant in the area that allowed the construction of the road in a short time, it was decided to use the one that was available at that time: the gulag.
The Gulag: The Stalinist cemeteries
The Gulags were forced labor camps where hundreds of prisoners were sent who considered themselves dangerous for the stability of the regime of Stalin.
These fields existed from 1930 to 1960 and it is said that more than 14 millions of people were confined to these remote prisons.
There is no certainty about the number of politicians, religious and common criminals who entered the gulag during Stalin's time, but the number of deaths that occurred in these cold dungeons.
Specifically, the death toll in the gulag exceeded one million people, but before they died they gave their last breath so that people could travel along a long road to and from Siberia.
The road to the bones begins to be built
In 1931 Dalstríi was created, the state organization in charge of coordinating and directing the construction works of the Kolimá highway.
One of the problems that this organization found was finding cheap labor willing to travel to Siberia to work, and found no better solution than using the prisoners of the Sevvostlag gulag.
These intellectuals, religious, politicians or simple criminals were destined to build a road over 6 thousand kilometers from Kolimá to Moscow.
Specifically, the highway would start in Yakutsk, in the region of Sakha, adjacent to the Arctic, as well as Magadan, capital of Kolimá.
These roads had to be built in a short time because it would transport materials and soldiers necessary to reinforce the borders.
To carry out this construction the Gulag prisoners had mostly shovels and wheelbarrows, and they also had to endure a terrible cold of many degrees below zero.
Needless to say that under such conditions there were many who died building this road. Those who died were immediately replaced by new prisoners. So there was always available labor and hundreds of dead people to bury.
A cheap labor of easy replacement: the dream of every company
It is said that the most terrible stretch of road that these prisoners of Gulag had to carry out was Jandiga, because the working conditions were subhuman. Being assigned to this work was practically a death sentence.
As soon as the gulag residents of Sevvostlag arrived, many died, even before they started helping to build this road that would join Siberia with Moscow to transport the gold from the mines.
For Dalstríi, the Stalinist state organization in charge of this road, it did not mean much to replace the immense number of forced laborers who died.
In fact, for them the large number of deaths was a minor problem because as time went by the number of opponents to the regime increased.
Seen that way, the biggest problem that Dalstríi encountered to complete the road he had been commissioned was no longer labor.
Well, the problem of getting a large number of workers was solved and without having to pay them anything, they realized that an equally serious one was missing: the lack of construction materials in the cold Russian steppes.
In the absence of stone, bones are good
Siberia is a region rich in precious materials (gold, diamonds...) and wood, which are very valuable but certainly useless to be used as building materials for a road.
In the Siberian steppes, on the contrary, the large rocks and gravel are scarce, elements that are used as support in the construction works.
Hence, observing the large number of prisoners who died daily of hunger, cold or any disease on the same road they were building, Eduard Petróvich Berzin, head of Dalstríi, came up with the "brilliant" idea that the corpses served as fillers.
The skeletal bodies of the prisoners were not adequate enough to carry out many hours of forced labor, if they were hard enough (especially because of the cold) to replace the support stone of the road.
Evidence of the strength of the human bone structure in some cases is the fact that this Kolimá highway it still exists and requires little maintenance.
Exactly how many corpses were used for these purposes in the construction of this road is not known, but it has been enough to be baptized as the road of the bones.
At present, this road is testimony to the cruelty that some governments can be when it comes to achieving certain purposes, but it also pays tribute to the immense effort and sacrifice that the people of Russia have put in bringing civilization to the last confines of the world. immense Russian territory.
Russianlover, do you already have your organized route for your next trip to Russia?