Return names – where and how you can honor the memory of the repressed

On 29 and 30 October across Russia held rallies in memory of those who suffered in the years of political repression. “Pravmir” tells where and how you can honor the memory of the victims.


  • Last address: Moscow will remember their dead
  • Martyrs want and need to be heard
  • Six questions about the Concept of immortalization of memory of repression victims
  • The latest address for Vera Morozova

What we remember 30 October?

In Russia it is a Day of remembrance for victims of political repression. 30 Oct 1974 in Mordovian Dubravlag prisoners on hunger strike. The initiator was an astrophysicist and human rights activist Kronid Lyubarsky, who was sentenced to five years for anti-Soviet agitation. Participation in the hunger strike confirmed letters of prisoners to the Prosecutor’s office – they sought recognition of status of political prisoner (instead of “especially dangerous state criminal”) and demanded to bring the regime in line with international norms.

Before the action she was known to the prison authorities via informants, the prisoners scattered in different camps. As a result, 30 October the hunger strike announced inmates are not only the Mordvin, but also the Perm camps and Vladimir.

The opening of the monument to victims of political repression in the USSR, 30 October 1990

Since 1974 hunger strike in the colonies with the requirement to recognize the status of political prisoners became an annual event, their geography has expanded and the number of participants grew.

30 October 1989, three thousand people formed a human ring the KGB building on Lubyanka square in Moscow. In hands they held candles, symbolizing the victims of the Great terror. A spontaneous procession, having moved from the Lubyanka in the direction of Pushkin square, was broken up by riot police. A year later on the same day in the Park on Lubyanka passage set boulder which was brought from the territory of the Solovetsky special purpose camp with the inscription “In memory of the millions of victims of totalitarian regime”.

In October 1991 the Supreme Soviet adopted the law “On rehabilitation of victims of political repression,” that same year, October 30 is celebrated as a Day of remembrance for victims of political repression.


What is the “Great terror”?

The term “Great terror” offered to the English historian Robert conquest in his eponymous book, 1968. Now historians called unprecedented in scale and cruelty of the mass destruction of the citizens of the Soviet Union in 1937-1938.

Accurate data on the number of victims in this period there. It is believed that anti-Soviet activities was charged and convicted of more than 1 300 000 people. Of them sentenced to punishment, 727 000 people in Moscow shot more than thirty thousand people. Places of mass graves in the capital began Butovo landfill and the landfill “Kommunarka”.

Is not installed, and the total number of victims of political repression during the years of Soviet power. Research, rehabilitation and perpetuation of memory of victims of repression in the USSR engaged in society “memorial”. According to them (the work on the archives continues) in the period from 1921 to 1953 the country was arrested 4 060 306 people, including 799 455 people sentenced to death.

In Russia today live almost 800 thousand victims of repression.

The firing squad of the NKVD. Photo from the book by David King, “Ordinary Citizens: The Victims of Stalin”, London, 2003

Butovo polygon

In 1920, here in the place of the noble estates Drozhzhino was established agricultural colony of the OGPU, then it was converted into Spezzano. Territory with round-the-clock armed guard was the Small site of the NKVD.

In August 1937 on the ground began to arrive in covered trucks, including the ordinary civil. It was in this year the landfill along with the special object of “Kommunarka” has become a permanent platform for the execution of “enemies of the people”

People at night were taken one by one, put a face to the pit and shot in the head. At Butovo executions sentences mainly against the Muscovites and residents of Moscow region. Here shot the peasants, priests, former nobles and whites, criminals, workers, ordinary employees, the number of executed reached four hundred a day.

Installation in the first Butovo memorial cross

During the years of the Great terror in Butovo were executed and buried in mass graves 20 765. Executions continued in the years of the great Patriotic war.

For the first time, the largest in Moscow and area the burial place of victims of political repression was opened for relatives of the victims in 1993. A year later, a Memorial cross designed by sculptor D. M. Shakhovsky, a descendant who was shot in Butovo priest Michael Shik. Archaeological excavations revealed 13 burial trenches, reaching a length of one hundred meters.

Seven bishops, 600 priests, monks and hundreds of lay people were executed here for his confession of faith. Of these, 129 clergy and laity canonized in August 2000, the Council of bishops Consecrated as victims in Russia at the hands of atheists in the twentieth century. In 2006, the number of canonized Butovo new martyrs rose to 332 people.

Butovo — Russia’s largest burial place of the relics of famous saints.

Where it is possible to remember the victims of political repression?

On 29 October, on the eve of Day of memory of victims of political repression at the Solovetsky stone is an action “Return name”. From ten in the morning until ten o’clock people, replacing each other, reading the names of victims of the Stalinist regime and the date of their execution. The idea of the campaign is to remember the people murdered in Moscow, and not a repeat disaster of this magnitude. Address: New square, a Park near the Polytechnic Museum.

Event “2010 Return of names” at the Solovetsky stone

In the temple of the Holy new Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, built on the site of the first executions, 30 Oct serve lity. Before the burial ditches hit list of the NKVD in chronological order read the names of those killed in Butovo. Action “Voice of memory” will begin at 11.30 am at the village of Butovo, jubilee street, building 2.

Also on 30 October in Moscow will host the annual “Prayer of remembrance”. This year you can come:

  • In the square, the place exploded Dormition Church on Pokrovka str., 5, 14:00 – 19:00
  • At the Vagankovskoye cemetery, at the entrance of the Memorial cross, 14:00 – 16:45
  • At the Donskoy cemetery, St. Ordzhonikidze, 4 (near the Church of St. Seraphim of Sarov and Anna Kashina), 14:00 – 17:00

In addition to Moscow in the campaign will involve Saint-Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Istra, Moscow region, Elektrostal, Kolomna, Tver, Voronezh, Tula, Samara, Kamyshin and other cities. The schedule can be viewed at this link.

In each of these cities will be read the names first of all his countrymen, victims in the Soviet camps and exile. Also, the organizers urge all not indifferent to the memory of victims of repressions on 30 October, exactly at 21.00 to light their homes candles.

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