Restoring the Names

Since the late 1980s volunteers all over Russia and other former Soviet republics have compiled lists naming the men and women arrested, imprisoned and shot during Stalin’s time, and published regional Books of Remembrance about them.

Working with Ivan Chukhin, Yury DMITRIEV compiled such a volume for Karelia. It contains over 14,000 names.

Nikolai KRESTOVSKY, shot 2 December 1942

In the past 15 years national databases of those “repressed” by the Bolshevik regime have been created by combining information from Books of Remembrance and other sources. Again this was the work of volunteers at organisations like the Memorial Society and, more recently, those behind the Open List database. The State has played no role in this extraordinary enterprise. At present, over three million men and women have been named and identified. This, it is estimated, is a quarter of all those who fell victim to political repression: those sent to the Gulag during dekulakisation, or deported to distant, inhospitable regions; those shot during the Great Terror and the many other waves of violence and repression before and after World War Two.

The violence did not begin in 1930 nor did it end in 1938. Many were shot as hostages during the Red Terror in 1918, during a Civil War when rebellious villagers were often also massacred; and the killing continued after the Great Terror ended in November 1938.

Boris BELOZEROV, shot 2 December 1942

Publishing these photos and the following text today, film-maker and Dmitriev supporter Yury Mikhailin comments: “We’ve now seen hundreds of faces like these, it seems. Yet whenever new photos appear something more is restored.”

Olga MIKHAILOVA, arrested 1938

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The three photos come from the Sakharov Centre in Moscow. Its staff published them with the following commentary:

“Recently we found some photos from investigation files in our museum archives that have not yet been published. Here are a few of them.

Nikolai Petrovich KRESTOVSKY (1896-1942).
A note on the back says that Krestovsky was head doctor at the Solnechnogorsk Hospital; he was shot on 2 December 1942.

Boris Nikolayevich BELOZEROV (1908-1942).
Photo taken in NKVD’s main Moscow prison at Lefortovo. Thanks to a note on the back we learn that he was acting director of factory No 469 in Solnechnogorsk (Moscow Region); also shot 2 December 1942.

“The third photo is of Olga Mikhailovna MIKHAILOVA (1900-?).

“A little research was needed to find out more about Olga Mikhailovna because there are several people with the same initials and surname in the databases of the “repressed” (those arrested and imprisoned or shot).

“In the Open List database we found the full number of Olga Mikhailovna’s archive file: P-65917. So far all we know is that she was arrested in 1938; her subsequent fate remains unknown.”

John Crowfoot
10 September 2020