Map of gulag camps in the USSR which existed from 1923 to 1961.

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In Gulags people were indeed frequently worked to death, but you are right: death was kind of a _byproduct_ of the system, not the main goal. Gulags were horrible, and of course it feels wrong to compare two fundamentally evil systems, trying to decide which one is less evil, yet in a twisted way Gulags were a tiny bit less terrible then Nazi camps, as the latter were _primarily designed to kill_.

One may say that Russian camps were designed to “torture” (not literally, but socially, through horrible living conditions and emotional torture), but not _necessarily_ to kill. People died all the time though, due to brutality, executions, malnourishment and suicide. Based on what I learned the numbers are above 10% (close to 20%), but even these numbers are generally not open (they were briefly made open in the 1990s, but then Putin classified them back in early 2000s), and so are highly contested. Also there’s an obvious problem of which atrocities and executions should be included in Gulag mortalities, and which should be counted separately.

Generally, if you are interested in this topic, compare descriptions of Nazi camps left by survivors, like that of [Victor Frankl](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Frankl), to those from Soviet camps, and ideally not Solzhenitsyn, as his description is a bit on the rosy side, but [Shalamov](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varlam_Shalamov) and [Kersnovskaya](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eufrosinia_Kersnovskaya). The system was horrible, deathly and dehumanizing, but it was certainly different. I hope it helps! (Edit grammar)

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