The epilogue examines how the new equilibrium established during late socialism was severely disrupted by perestroika and the Soviet collapse, when Vorkuta became one of the centers of a strike movement pushing for economic and political reforms. Reforms and neglect in the 1990s quickly transformed Vorkuta from a showcase of Soviet success into a cautionary tale of Soviet failures. Public memorialization of the Gulag, which finally became possible during perestroika, also became entangled in the Soviet collapse and post-Soviet crisis. As the epilogue demonstrates, Vorkuta has a tenuous existence in the post-Soviet era, and the legacy of the Gulag continues to shape the city in the twenty-first century.
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