For the last 11 years the ceremony of Restoring the Names has been held each year in Moscow on 29 October at the Solovki Stone on Lubyanka Square. Several thousand people queue up to read out the name of someone who was executed during the Great Terror of the late 1930s in a moving event that takes many hours.
On Friday 19 October, the Moscow city authorities suddenly withdrew permission to hold this year’s ceremony in its traditional location, next to FSB headquarters, claiming that ongoing construction and restoration work made the site unsuitable.
They suggested that the ceremony be moved to the Wall of Sorrow monument on Sakharov Avenue, unveiled last year. Memorial said the proposal was unacceptable: no one would suggest laying flowers to the dead of the war years anywhere but at the monument to the Unknown Soldier. The same applied to Restoring the Names.
On Saturday afternoon, Memorial reported on its Facebook page [R], there was a call from the Moscow Mayor’s office, proposing a meeting at the Solovki Stone on Monday, 22 October, between the city authorities and the event organisers to agree the physical limits of the ceremony at its usual location this year.
What would happen this year at the Wall of Sorrow itself was discussed on 5 October [R] at the Presidential inter-departmental group to Preserve the Memory of the Victims of Political Repression. The meeting was chaired by Mikhail Fedotov, and among those taking part were Roman Romanov of the Gulag Museum and Yelena Zhemkova, executive director of Memorial.
The significance of the two dates, 29 and 30 October,
are discussed in Dates Official and Unofficial