When I was reading the book and read that there was a Moldavian " spy " missing I wondered if Moldova was part of Russia during the Gulag Camps. After doing some research , I found out that Moldova was part of the Soviet Union. Moldova was incorporated into the Soviet Union at the close of World War II. During those times , the Soviet Union was under Josef Stalin's rule. Stalin was under rule from 1930 until 1950. Most of the prisoners in the Soviet force labor camps were criminals. About 14 million people were in the Gulag labor camps from 1929 to 1953.
Even though there were many criminals in the prisoners, many of the prisoners were innocent. You could go to the Gulag Camps for such simple things. If you criticized the government or you said something bad about the country , you were sent to these camps. According with other estimates, at the beginning of 1953 the total number of prisoners in prison camps was more than 2.4 million of which more than 465,000 were political prisoners.
It didn't matter if you were there for a life sentence or if you were innocent. The prisoners in the camps had to work hard every day. This camps were " forced labor camps ", they had to work for more than 10 hours each day. Life in a camp zone was brutal and violent. Prisoners competed for access to all of life’s necessities, and there was a lot violence among the prisoners. Prisoners would have hunger, diseases and heavy labor. A lot of prisoners got died in this camps, only a few survived and came home. Because of this many prisoners would try to fool the guards and try to find a way to escape. But escaping wasn't that easy, besides a big number of guards, the camps were surrounded by fences and barbed wires. Gulag Camps were considered harsh and unfair for a lot of people.