Remembrance (3): Four brothers

Alexander Pokrovsky and his three brothers were born in a village in what today is Russia’s Oryol Region. By the early 1930s, they had moved to Moscow.

There in summer 1932 the OGPU (predecessor of the NKVD) arrested them and by October that year all four were convicted of Counter-Revolutionary Crimes under Article 58, specifically espionage and terrorism.They were, it is said, attempting to create an underground anti-Soviet organisation; they wanted to spy for France and rob the Soviet State; worst of all, they were preparing to assassinate Stalin, Voroshilov, Kaganovich and OGPU chief Yagoda.

With the exception of Ivan Pokrovsky, the eldest, they had each found work: Alexander at a factory; Sergei at a workshop; and Simeon building the new airport at Monino. This reflected the opportunities provided by the forced tempo of industrialisation during the First Five Year Plan; the city also offered them a welcome anonymity, perhaps, because their father Nikolai was an Orthodox priest.

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Remembrance (1): Lists and Names

Faced by the grim and relentless persecution of Yury DMITRIEV over the last four years, it’s easy to lose sight of the achievements of the past quarter century, those countless acts of remembrance across Russia and former Soviet states that make any simple return to the past unthinkable.

Yury Dmitriev resumes work, 2018

During the 1990s, volunteers all over the former Soviet Union gathered information from a variety of archives; they listed the names of those deported, imprisoned and shot and compiled Books of Remembrance. Today only a few of the Russian Federation’s constituent Regions and Republics lack such a record.

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Unique Tomsk Region Museum safe for this winter at least

The only one of its kind in Russia, the museum in Palochka village in the north of the Tomsk Region opened this August. It is devoted to the memory of over 7,000 forced settlers from southern Siberia who died there in 1931-1933. Partly funded with grants from the presidential administration, it faced fears of closure recently until a crowdfunding campaign raised enough to pay for its prohibitive heating costs.

From mass burials to a museum

In 2018 two local women Irina Yanchenko and Gulnara Koryagina found mass burials of so-called “special” settlers on the outskirts of the village (population 297 in 2017). Archival documents revealed that in 1931 “kulaks” had been brought there on barges down the River Ob from the Altai Region to the south. Two years later only 700 of the 7,800 settlers remained alive: the rest had died from the backbreaking work, from starvation and sickness.

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Timeline (2), 2018-2021

2018

14 June — DMITRIEV’s acquittal on charges of child pornography (Article 242.3) and perverted acts with a minor (135) overturned by Supreme Court of Karelia.

Football World Cup opens in Russia.

Sergei Koltyrn (1953-2020)

28 June — DMITRIEV re-arrested and again held in Detention Centre 1 in Petrozavodsk.

Further charges brought against DMITRIEV under Part 4 of Article 132.

10 August — DMITRIEV returns to Detention Centre No 1 after a psychiatric assessment at Hospital No 6 in St Petersburg.

27 August — Russian Military History Society begins two weeks of excavations at Sandarmokh.

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