|Solovki is a symbol of the new
system's attitude to religion and tradition. Three historic monasteries
located on a remote island in White Sea were turned into a camp to
isolate political opponents of the new regime: White Army officers,
members of opposition parties, participants of counter-revolutionary
Soon Solovetsk became one of the first "corrective labour
camps". A wave of repression of a scale never seen before brought
hundreds of thousands arrested people to camps, where their destination
is to become a work-force performing economic tasks.
At the end of 1936 the Solovetsk camp was reorganized into a
prison and then shut down in 1939 to make way for a naval base. The
devastation of church buildings continued well into the 1960s, when
restoration work was initiated. The influx of military families and
conservators brought new life to the islands. Today, the settlement
around the monastery has a population of about one thousand.
The Orthodox Church reestablished itself here in 1988, and in
1992 the Solovetsk monastery complex was included in UNESCO's World
The only known iconographic record from the time of the
camp's existence is the propaganda film "Solovki", made in the Twenties
for the purposes of promoting the "new penitential policy of the Soviet
State". Contemporary photographs were taken on the Solovetsk Islands in
June and October of 1993.