A wonderful person, a wonderful historian

On 3 January 2021 Mikhail ROGACHOV passed away in St Petersburg. He created “the best Book of Remembrance in Russia, the Komi Republic’s “Repentance” Martyrology,” commented Anatoly Razumov and referred to his deceased colleague as “A wonderful person, a wonderful historian.”

Mikhail ROGACHOV (born Riga 1952; died 2021 of Covid-19 in Kronstadt hospital)

Razumov continued:

“We first became friendly in 1973 when studying together at the university history faculty in St Petersburg and living in the students’ dormitory on the Mytninskaya Embankment near the Peter and Paul Fortress. During the great thaw after 1985 we became colleagues working on the same subject.

“On 3-4 March 2020, when we hoped that the Covid-19 pandemic would not spread so fiercely, I flew to Syktyvkar for a meeting of the inter-departmental working group that was coordinating activities in the Komi Republic to implement the State policy of “commemorating the victims of political repression”.

“Misha spoke at the meeting and demonstrated the multi-volume Book of Remembrance that he had donated to the Komi Republic’s State Archive. He showed me around the Komi capital, chatting about everything in a lively manner; he presented me with the latest volumes of “Repentance”, and I gave him a copy of Yury Dmitriev’s Sandarmokh: A Place of Remembrance (2019). We drank the local liqueur, raising our glasses to friends past and present.

“When we parted at the airport it seemed that a great many roads still lay ahead of us. Now I realise there will only be memories. We shall not meet again.

Thank you for everything, Misha!

Anatoly Razumov,
National Library, St Petersburg

REPENTANCE. THE KOMI MARTYROLOGY: Victims of Mass Political Repression

published in eleven volumes between 1998 and 2016.

Twelve volumes, 19 individual books, that include approximately 60,000 biographical entries for those convicted of political crimes in the 1930s, including many found guilty in other parts of the USSR (they can be seen on the top shelf behind Rogachov).

The contents of each biographical entry vary depending on the source of the information: whether an archived investigation file, or an individual file on a particular offender, has been consulted.

Part of these books, moreover, is devoted to lists of those who faced no legal procedures, neither a trial nor an extra-judicial “troika”, before being rounded up by the police and OGPU / NKVD and deported to the Soviet Union’s Northern Region (which then embraced, Komi, Karelia and the Arkhangelsk Region):

  • vol. 2 includes those who stayed on in Komi;
  • vol. 4 lists dekulakized and deported peasants;
  • vol. 5 includes deported former Polish citizens;
  • vol. 6 includes dekulakized families;
  • vol. 10 lists forced German settlers from the Volga republic and elsewhere.