Independent Russian NGO ousted from Gulag prison camp museum

An independent Russian organization says it has been ousted from the Gulag prison camp museum that it has run from 1992.

Viktor Shmyrov, director for the Perm-36 museum in central Russia, told The Associated Press Thursday that his organization had lost the property after losing a lawsuit against the regional Ministry of Culture, which announced in 2013 that it would take over.

Shmyrov condemned the new concept for the museum: "There was no talk of political repression, no talk of Stalin."

Historians estimate that under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, 700,000 people were executed during the peak of the purges in 1937-1938. Millions more died of harsh labor and cruel treatment in the giant Gulag prison camp system, mass starvation in Ukraine and southern Russia and deportations of ethnic minorities.