Memorial Museum

Top choice in Tomsk

The gloomy basement of this former NKVD (proto-KGB) building is now a museum dedicated to the unspeakable horrors that took place here. Look out for the Gulag map, the system of Soviet labour camps depicted as an uncountable mass of red dots across the territory of the former USSR.

Prisoners who passed through here included Gulag chronicler Eufrosinia Kersnovskaya and the family of the purged Kazakh writer Akhmet Baytursinuli. Outside the museum are two monuments to victims of Stalinist repression – the larger to local victims, the second to Poles slaughtered by Uncle Joe and his cronies.

Tours are recommended, but the English-language ones should be booked in advance. If you go it alone and don't read Russian, you'll miss out on a lot; but, as they say, 'A picture is worth a thousand words', and the pictures on display here are just screaming out.