“We shall go on, naming names” (Razumov)

Anatoly Razumov
“Their Names Restored” (St Petersburg)

Yury DMITRIEV’s friend and colleague describes recent acquisitions by his Centre and work on the forthcoming second volume of Sandarmokh, a Place of Remembrance, that incorporates Dmitriev’s extensive research on those forcibly deported with their families to Karelia in the early 1930s:

From all over the old Soviet Union

We regularly receive new Books of Remembrance, recording the names of the victims of political repression, at our Centre. They may be earlier publications or very recent books, volumes we lack at the Russian National Library. As a rule, these books are rarities and issued in small print-runs.

Our thanks to Leonid Zhuravlyov, the compiler and editor, who sent us volume 13 of the Amur Region Books of Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repression from Blagoveshchensk in the Far East.

From the Irkutsk Region (Siberia) we received The Book of Remembrance of Bodaibo town and the Bodaibo district. Our thanks to Nina Vecher, chair of the Irkutsk Association of Victims of Repression, and to Vladimir Mungalov, the book’s compiler.

The editor of the “Eternal Barrack” project Andrei Shalayev sent us a book about the NKVD’s “Rumanian operation” during the Great Terror.

“We know how important Books of Remembrance are for you,” he wrote. “We are also trying to track them down and pass them on, paying for them when necessary. We’ve come across a rare volume, The Rumanian operation in Moldova. It is almost 1,000 pages of lists [of names] and execution reports. Usually, we pass on books to the Sakharov Centre after converting them into digital form … This book was gifted to us by its author, historian Mikhail Tashka. 500 copies were printed … I’m doubtful that you could obtain it anywhere. We shall donate our copy to you.”

Our thanks to Andrei. This is a particularly important Book of Remembrance.

Soon Vyacheslav Bityutsky will send us Volume 4 of the Voronezh Region Book of Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repression, which has only just been published.

Meanwhile, colleagues in Belarus are sending us a recently published book about the North Caucasus: The Dagestan Book of Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repression in the Twentieth Century.

Sandarmokh, a Place of Remembrance (volume two)

I usually take one of these new books and a copy of Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago (donated by the author), to all public events: commemorative ceremonies, interviews, conferences, seminars and other formal gatherings. It’s easier to speak and observe moments of silent commemoration of the slain, the missing and those who suffered from State Terror with such volumes to hand.

We have not stopped work, after all. We shall go on naming names, searching for sites where crimes were committed and turning them into places of remembrance. The second volume of Yury DMITRIEV’s Sandarmokh, a Place of Remembrance, is being prepared for publication. It will contain about a thousand biographical entries for those executed there, taking us to the sixth letter in the Russian alphabet (Г, Д, Е).

There will also be memoirs and articles, in particular items by Emilia Slabunova, Irina Galkova and Anna Yarovaya concerning the problems today facing the Sandarmokh Memorial Complex. A further part of my article about the executioners and their crimes will be included. The book is illustrated. The cover will display the memorial “People. Do not kill one another” which stands at the entrance to Sandarmokh; it was restored in 2020.

It’s good that Yury’s appeal against the decision of the Karelian Supreme Court was accepted at the third attempt. He remains in Detention Centre No 1 in Petrozavodsk. He gets on well with his cellmates and the centre staff. He receives and writes many letters.

Dmitriev’s contribution

Meanwhile, we are discussing the structure of the new volume.

Yura has provided us with plenty of material to work from. It will be easier to appreciate how much he has done over the past decades if I compare one biographical entry from Karelia’s Lists of Remembrance, 1937-1938 (Petrozavodsk, 2002) with the fuller version to be published in the forthcoming volume.

The Lists of Remembrance described Andrei Drobyshev as a victim of the Great Terror (1937-1938):

Drobyshev, Andrei Ivanovich (b. 1902). Place of birth – Lysye Gory village, Prigorodny district, Leningrad Region. Russian, non-Party member, forced settler. Arrested 20 November 1937. Sentenced to the supreme penalty on 29 November 1937 by the NKVD Troika of the Karelia ASSR, in response to NKVD Order 00447. Shot on 26 December 1937 at the Medvezhya Gora station (Sandarmokh). Rehabilitated by the Karelian procurator on 7 May 1989.

The entry in volume two of Sandarmokh, a Place of Remembrance, describes him as a victim of the forced collectivisation of agriculture, who was deported with his family to Karelia and later shot there:

Drobyshev, Andrei Ivanovich (b. 1902). Place of birth and residence – Lysye Gory village, Tambov district, Tambov Region [Central Russia]. Russian, non-Party member, peasant farmer and well-digger. Deported to Karelia in 1934.

Lived as a forced settler in the Karbozero labour settlement where he was arrested on 20 November 1937. Sentenced to the supreme penalty on 29 November 1937 by the NKVD Troika of the Karelia ASSR, in response to NKVD Order 00447. Shot on 26 December 1937 at the Medvezhya Gora station (Sandarmokh). Listed on 10 November 1940 as “convicted and sent to a labour camp”. Rehabilitated by the Karelian procurator on 7 May 1989.

Deported with him to Karelia were his wife and daughter. His wife Olga Pavlovna (b. 1897) ran away from the Karbozero labour settlement in February 1936 but was caught; she escaped again in January 1937, was caught in January 1938 and transferred in October 1938 to the Kondopoga district to work in a collective farm. Their daughter Maria (b. 1923) escaped from Karbozero with her mother twice and was caught on both occasions; in November 1940 she was released from the settlement.

And so, name after name, we are filling out our picture of those heinous crimes.

Our victory is assured.

Their Names Restored” website,
7 December 2020

PS — When interviewed by Anna Yarovaya after his release in January 2018, Dmitriev expressed concern to publish many more names he had restored during his research:

“I know that I must finish the book because I must restore the names of approximately 125,000 special settlers whom everyone has totally forgotten and long ago. By “everyone” I mean the State.”