I’m struggling to imagine how Russia might be tied into this one, but it is consistent with the ongoing revisionism of history going on and supported by the Kremlin.
The abhorrent nature of implying Soviet gulags as being actually compassionate and educational denies a plethora of testimonies, photographs, and other documentation defies belief.
While the statements by the LGBTQ group align with Putin’s campaign to clean up Soviet and Russian history and appearances, I find it highly unlikely Russia would try to influence, sponsor, or become involved with an LGBTQ group. Russia has established a legal system and a culture that is the polar opposite of inclusive.
I’ve written to the LGBTQ Goldsmiths group, asking for a history of their opinion, if they were influenced by anyone or anything, and if they are contemplating a modification of their remarks. They are understandably protecting their tweets at the moment.
I did not directly ask if they had any contact with anyone representing Russia. Perhaps I should?
Statement on LGBTQ+ Society
Yesterday, Monday 10th September, a member of the LGBTQ+ Society with access to their Twitter account posted tweets containing offensive material. We condemn the abhorrent content of the tweets and they are in complete opposition to the views and values of the Students’ Union.
The Society have [sic] broken multiple Union policies and procedures, including failing to adhere to our code of conduct, and we have issued multiple requests for the group to delete the tweets. As such, the Society have [sic] been suspended and disaffiliated from the Students’ Union, pending investigation.
Societies are autonomous groups that operate with [the] support of the Students’ Union, governed by our policies and procedures, but their views and behaviour is led by independent groups of students.
Following this, we will ensure that there is other support in place for LGBTQ+ students, including those starting at Goldsmiths later this month, by building networks and facilitating events led by our LGBTQ+ staff and students.
Students at a leading London university have been condemned as blind to reality after defending the system of Soviet Gulag labour camps where thousands perished as “compassionate” places of rehabilitation.
Trans rights campaigners at Goldsmiths University described the Gulags as benign places where inmates received education, training and enjoyed the opportunity to take part in clubs, sports and theatre groups.
In fact most historians agree they were a brutal network of labour camps used by Stalin’s Soviet dictatorship to incarcerate internal opponents and so-called “enemies of the state”, resulting in the death of more than an estimated 1.05 million people.
During a bizarre exchange on Twitter the LGBTQ group at Goldsmiths Student Union described life in the Gulags as “rehabilitatory” and “educational”.
Paradoxically the thread was written as an apparent justification for an earlier post by the same group which threatened to send a political opponent “to the gulag”.
The threat was made against Claire Graham, a special education needs teacher, who wrote objecting to LGBTQ Goldsmith’s threat to target feminist academics who they claimed were prejudiced against transgender individuals.
Tans activists refer to these women by the derogatory term TERFS, claiming they are guilty of hate crimes for their opposition to allowing men undergoing gender transition to use women’s toilets and other female only spaces.
In its Tweets, Goldsmith LGBTQ said: “The ideas of TERFS and anti-trans bigots literally *kill* and must be eradicated through re-education.”
Ms Graham said: “I said that I thought their choice of language, in talking about lists and purging people was intended to shut down debate about trans people and the law. I then received unpleasant and dehumanising threats about being sent to the Gulag. I feel bad for other trans people because this kind of response by some makes them seem so extreme and intolerant.”
Goldsmith LGBTQ subsequently attempted to justify the threat to send Ms Graham to the Gulag by stating that “sending a bigot to one is actually a compassionate, non-violent course of action.”
The Twitter thread went on to state that the CIA had spread “lies” about the Gulag system, adding: “First myth to debunk: ‘u work until u die in gulags!’ The Soviets did away with life sentences and the longest sentence was 10 years. Capital punishment was reserved for the most heinous, serious crimes.
“The penal system was a rehabilitatory one. The aim was to correct and change the ways of criminals.”
It added: “Much like wider Soviet society, everyone who was ‘able’ to work did so at a wage proportionate to those who weren’t incapacitated and, as they gained skills, were able to move up the ranks and work under less supervision.
“Educational work was also a prominent feature of the Soviet penal system. There were regular classes, book clubs, newspaper editorial teams, sports theatre and performance groups.”
In contrast, mainstream historians have concluded that the gulag system, which reached its peak under Joseph Stalin’s rule, was a system of forced labour camps used to incarcerate a wide range of convicts, from petty criminals to political prisoners – including Stalin’s left-wing, Trotskyist opponents and gay men and women.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, who survived eight years imprisoned in a Gulag incarceration, brought its horrors to the world’s attention in his 1973 book The Gulag Archipelago.
Soviet files show that 1,053,829 people died in the camps between 1934 and 1953, mostly as a result of deliberate starvation.
The historian Anne Applebaum, author of Gulag: A History, said: “It was an incredibly brutal system designed to eliminate Stalin’s’ enemies and terrorise the wider population. Most of the inmates were innocent of anything we would regard as a crime.”
Ms Graham said: “The LGBTQ group’s interpretation of the history of the Gulag system is madness.”
Goldsmiths Students’ Union has now suspended the group and withdrawn its support for its activities, saying the Gulag threat – and subsequent refusal by the group to apologise for it – clearly breached the students’ union code of conduct.
In a statement backed by Goldsmiths University the students’ union said: “We condemn the abhorrent content of the tweets and they are in complete opposition to the views and values of the Students’ Union.”
Members of Goldsmiths LGBTQ refused to comment when approached by The Daily Telegraph.