Deported, Rearrested, Imprisoned, Shot

The information gathered in the 1990s in Russia’s Books of Remembrance about “victims of political repression” mainly derives from the records of the Soviet police and security services.

Even that thin evidence provides glimpses of human suffering that are shocking both in scale and persistence. These examples from the 1930s begin with the forced collectivization of agriculture and end with the Great Terror.

SHOT

Andrian Avdeyenko, an independent peasant farmer, was shot in 1931 (aged 29). He was born and worked in the Yedogon village, Irkutsk Region. Arrested in April 1930, he was charged under Article 58 with “armed uprising” and “the organisation of counter-revolutionary activities”. The OGPU troika sentenced him to death and on 22 January 1931 Avdeyenko was shot in Irkutsk.

Daniil A. Yepifantsev (1889-1933 shot) did not resist collectivization and joined a collective farm (kolkhoz). Nevertheless, he was arrested in 1932 and shot the next year, leaving behind a 41-year-old wife and seven children aged 2-17.

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Trial to end on 14 or 15 December

When hearings resume on 13 December the defence (represented by Victor Anufriev and Roman Masalyov) will make its closing statement. Yury Dmitriev will then address the court and also pronounce his Last Words at this trial. Word from Moscow is that the trial may finish as early as Tuesday 14 December.

Dmitriev as a free man (March 2018)

Veteran photo-reporter Victoria Ivleva who took this picture is herself currently detained.

Trial resumes. Anufriev cannot attend

Several hearings in Yury DMITRIEV’s third trial at the Petrozavodsk City Court are due to take place this week and next: today, tomorrow and Friday, and on Monday, 6 December.

What happens today (writes Natalia Dyomina on Facebook) promises to be unpredictable. DMITRIEV’s principal defence attorney of the past five years Victor Anufriev has been ill [last year he missed important hearings while self-isolating due to Covid-19] and Dmitriev signed an agreement with a second attorney from Petrozavodsk. At the last court hearing, however, the substitute lawyer could not be present: he was due to appear at another trial, agreed much earlier, some way from the Karelian capital.

Victor Anufriev, February 2021

Soon Judge Khomyakova was up to her old tricks. Dissatisfied with these “delays” she herself appointed an attorney, giving him or her (the identity of the new lawyer is unknown) only a few days to get acquainted with no less than 25 substantial case files from the two earlier trials.

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Those who did not return

“I would like to recall them all by name,
but they’ve taken the list, there’s no way to find out”

Anna Akhmatova wrote Requiem, from which this famous couplet is taken, over almost thirty years (1935-1961). In Russia the poem could not be published in full until 1987.

Nikolai Gumilyov, Anna Akhmatova and their son Lev (1915)

Her first husband, fellow poet Nikolai Gumilyov, was shot on trumped-up charges in 1921 [47-01]. Their son Lev was twice arrested and sent to the camps, during the Great Terror and again in 1949. Her third husband Nikolai Punin died in August 1953 [11-23], a few months after Stalin, in the hospital of a labour camp complex in northwest Russia.

As she was well aware, Akhmatova was giving voice to millions who suffered a similar ordeal. When she died in 1966 Khrushchev’s brief and ambivalent “Thaw” had come to an end. For the next twenty years there would be silence about the crimes of the 1920s-1950s; any discovered remains were hastily reburied or moved elsewhere [42-08]. Not until the late 1980s did the rehabilitation of the “victims of political repression” under Stalin (and Lenin) resume.

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