The movement itself was ultimately unsuccessful in directly achieving the goals that the strikers set out for themselves. Although the movements had a great chance of success in theory due to its nonviolent approach, cohesion, organization, and tactics, it failed to establish better working and living conditions due to some unfortunate circumstances. Despite having a well organized plan of action, there isn't much that could've been done after a member of the Moscow Commission shot a prison leader, and decided to cut off the food supply because the prisoners refused to go back to work. The oppressive government and brutal security forces were much too powerful and unwavering for the prisoners to overcome.
The tactics that the prisoners used, such as: taking off their uniforms, refusing to go to work, self lock-ins, and publishing a leaflet, were evidently not the most low-risk, but they resulted in little to no physical damage to the camps themselves and got the message across effectively without harming others. These tactics are easy and inclusive, meaning that all prisoners would've been able to participate. The movement stayed legitimized because of the nonviolent tactics and the fact that even when the Moscow Commission offered minor concessions, they prisoners refused to give in because they still were not promised their basic human rights.
Despite the movement's failure to achieve it's goals due to a brutal assault on the prisoners, which ended the Vorkuta strike, the consequences of the nonviolent resistance led directly to the gradual emptying of the forced labor camps all over Russia. The Vorkuta Prison Strike is an excellent example of what can be achieved through nonviolent action because it was organized entirely underground by prisoners who had no rights and under constant threat of repression by camps authorities and by the Russian Secret Police. I believe that the prison strike should and has served as one of the basis for all nonviolent movements that follow.
SUMMARY OF MOVEMENT
At first, prisoners in the Vorkuta Camp were divided by rivalries and ideologies. However, due to measures adopted by security forces within the prison, secret organizations and prisoner unity began to become apparent. The organizations were represented on three levels: political, informative and military. Each had their respective role for a planned military uprising to take over the camp and eventually overthrow the Soviet regime. Tensions were high in the 1950s due to the refusal by authorities to any of the prisoner's demands, an all out war between the two was growing more and more likely.
In June of 1953, news of the Berlin Revolt made its way to the camps. The Prisoners were inspired by the uprising's successful use of strike tactics against Communist rulers, so they switched from their plans of a violent, military insurrection to a nonviolent mass strike. Strike Organization Committees were able to communicate from one camp to another, so protests were effectively coordinate by syncing tactics and sentiment. When the Moscow Commission finally showed up the prisoners stayed strong and refused the initial concessions that were offered. The prisoners wrote down their demands to avoid confrontation with officials, but the meetings with the Moscow Commission ended with the shooting of a prison leader and a brutal assault on the prisoners.
All camps were forced to surrender, and return to their normal work because they were threatened with immediate death and food shortages. Eventually, in the 1960s, all camps were emptied as a direct result of the Vorkuta uprising.
Bondaruk, Lesia. "Finnish Journalist's Book on Vorkuta Prison Camp Uprising." Finnish Journalist's Book on Vorkuta Prison Camp Uprising. N.p., 29 Oct. 2015. Web. 01 Dec. 2016.