On 26 December 2017, Karelian journalists described their new investigation, “Rewriting Sandarmokh”, at a discussion held at the Agrikalch Art Gallery in Petrozavodsk.
ANNA YAROVAYA told how the idea of conducting the investigation first arose. It was hard to find out who was trying to alter the history of the executions and burials at Sandarmokh, and why, she said. Continue reading
YURY DMITRIEV is already at the Serbsky Centre in Moscow. Several people, including his son, have been quick to take him a food parcel there — good for him and his morale, and helpful in making friends inside.
What Victoria Ivleva took Dmitriev
Photojournalist Victoria Ivleva took a lemon, mandarins, butter, toilet paper, cigarettes, cheese, sugar, speck (fatback), biscuits, salami and sweets.
THE OFFICIAL VIEW
“As Russia marks the centenary of the October Revolution, President Vladimir Putin has urged the society to end discord over the Soviet era,” reported the TASS news agency on 21 December 2017.
“This year, the centenary of the October Revolution, we have been seeking to encourage the society to abandon confrontation, to see themselves as a single society and realize that we are continuing our common centuries-long history,” Putin told a session of the Council for Culture and Art.
“Whether we like certain years or not, but there was everything there – bad things, but also a lot of good things that should not be forgotten,” he said.
Johnson’s Russia List
2017-#239, Friday, 22 December 2017, Item 1
HOW RUSSIA REPRESSES THE PAST
Nikita Petrov (Memorial)
Every spring, buses covered in portraits of Joseph Stalin appear on the streets of Russian cities. His face replaces ads for cell phones, soft drinks, laundry detergent, and cat food. With each passing year, the dictator gets more handsome and more glamorous; a portrait of him in his gorgeous white generalissimo’s jacket has become especially popular. He casts his stern gaze on the citizens, as if to say, “Remember me? I’m here, I didn’t go anywhere – and don’t you forget it!” Continue reading
A memorial graveyard known as Sandarmokh. It is a word without precise meaning or translation: there are only different accounts of its origins. The associations are unmistakable, however. It calls to mind a history of suffering and death.
For many what happened there eighty years ago stirs feelings of horror to this day. Mass executions of political prisoners—more than 7,000 of them in 236 common graves. People whose years in the Gulag ended in 1937-1938, in the forests of eastern Karelia, with a bullet to the back of the head.
Since its discovery in 1997, Sandarmokh has become a place of pilgrimage for the descendants of those killed in Stalin’s Great Terror, for local villagers, for historians and for public figures. An International Day of Remembrance has been held at Sandarmokh every year since then, attended by delegations from various parts of Russia and from abroad.
The “new” hypothesis
Yet in 2016, almost twenty years on, certain Petrozavodsk historians announced that, in addition to those shot in the 1930s, Soviet POWs might have been killed and buried at Sandarmokh during the “Continuation War” with Finland (1941-1944). This suggestion prompted a great debate among academics and was reported in both Russian and Finnish media. Continue reading