From the Inside Out: Defectors and the Gulag

John Jenks

in British Propaganda and News Media in the Cold War

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780748623143
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651344 | DOI:
From the Inside Out: Defectors and the Gulag

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This chapter explores the Information Research Department (IRD) and its allies inside and outside government and how they went on the offensive early on using Soviet defectors and evidence of a massive forced labour system in the USSR to debunk the Soviet myth of a ‘workers' paradise’. Soviet defectors gave inside stories of incompetence, despotism and oppression, but the biggest blemish marring the USSR's international image was the vast system of internal forced labour known as the Gulag Archipelago. The British government was just one of many players in the campaign to expose the Soviet gulag system. David Rousset's left-wing credentials and French nationality were the ticket for the IRD. Elena Zubkova's argument may lead us to believe that both British and American propaganda on the issue of forced labour, designed solely to score points in the Cold War, could have materially eased suffering within the Soviet Union.

Keywords: Information Research Department; USSR; Soviet defectors; Gulag Archipelago; British government; David Rousset; Elena Zubkova; Cold War; Soviet Union

Chapter.  8484 words. 

Subjects: Media Studies

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