Vorkuta vərko͞otä´ [key], city (2010 pop. 70,548), Komi Republic, NE European Russia, above the Arctic Circle. It is the industrial center of the Pechora coal basin. Founded in 1932 as the site of large Soviet forced-labor camps, Vorkuta became a city in 1942. Some of the camps were still being used in the 1980s, although they were reportedly dissolved after Stalin's death. Many of the area's coal mines closed during the 1990s, leading to the exodus of a third of the inhabitants.
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