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 Monument to Victims of Political Repression

Monument to Victims of Political Repression

Birth
Death unknown
Burial Moscow, Moscow Federal City, Russia
Memorial ID 12668 · View Source
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Russian Memorial Site. It consists of three mass graves at the Donskoi Monastery Cemetery in Moscow. From 1930 to 1953 this was a secret burial ground for Muscovites who perished in dictator Josef Stalin's political purges. Arrested by the state security forces (the NKVD) on fabricated charges of treason and espionage, they were shot in the city's Lubyanka and Butyrka prisons or in the cellars of the Military Collegium. The bodies were then brought to the Donskoi Crematorium at night and the ashes dumped into nearby pits, each some 16 feet deep, now known as Common Graves Nos. 1, 2 and 3. An estimated 10,000 people were disposed of in this manner, many during the "Great Terror" period (1935 to 1939) when Stalin ruthlessly purged the USSR's government, military, and cultural scene. Among those proven or presumed to be buried here are revolutionary leaders Lev Kamenev and Grigori Zinoviev, who had opposed Stalin in the Politburo; Red Army Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky, the most brilliant Soviet general of his time; internationally famed theatre director Vsevolod Meyerhold; authors Isaac Babel and Sergei Tretyakov; and NKVD chiefs Genrikh Yagoda, Nikolai Yezhov, and Lavrenti Beria, who oversaw the killings and ultimately shared the same fate. But the vast majority were ordinary citizens. The last such interment at Donskoi was Beria, executed in December 1953 during the power struggle following Stalin's death. The crematorium was closed in 1973 and is now a church. Under Gorbachev's reforms in the late 1980s, public demand prompted the government to locate some of the mass gravesites of those who died in the Terror. Common Grave No. 1 was among the first to be identified, and a memorial stone was dedicated there in 1991. It reads: "Here lie buried the remains of the innocent tortured and executed victims of the political repressions. May they never be forgotten". It has since been supplemented with dozens of individual markers placed by descendents of the victims. Because of its grim association with Stalinist repression, Donskoi has become a place of pilgrimage for the Russian Orthodox Church as well as Russian liberals. Before his death in 2008, Nobel Prize-winning author Alexander Solzhenitsyn (a survivor and chronicler of Stalin's gulag) requested burial at Donskoi over the offer of an honor grave in Russia's most prestigious cemetery, Novodevichy. A book of remembrance is maintained as part of the memorial.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 20 Sep 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 12668
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Monument to Victims of Political Repression (unknown–unknown), Find A Grave Memorial no. 12668, citing Donskoi Monastery Cemetery, Moscow, Moscow Federal City, Russia ; Maintained by Find A Grave .