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Russia condemns political repressions officially

August 19, 2015, 19:10 UTC+3 Alexandrova Lyudmila
© ITAR-TASS/Anatoly Kuzyarin

MOSCOW, August 19. /TASS/. Adoption of a state concept of the policy on monumentalizing the memory of victims of political repressions is an extremely important event that signals the start of huge and complicated work, as the number of Russians who treat political repressions tolerantly has been growing of late, experts say.

The Russian government has endorsed the concept of a state policy on memorializing the victims of political repressions.

"Russia cannot become a full-fledged state ruled by law or occupy a leading position in the world community unless it memorializes the millions of its citizens who perished during the years of political repressions," the document says.

It puts forward the task of laying down the conditions for a free access to archival materials, educational and informative programmes related to repressions and their inclusion in the TV and radio schedules, as well as in the curricula of secondary schools.

The document also envisions a network of museums and memorial sites, creation of an all-Russia Memory Book, and identification of mass burials of those purged in the epoch of political repressions.

In addition to it, results of a competition for the best conception of an all-Russia monument to the victims of repressions will be summed up on October 30 when the nation marks the Day of Memory of Political Repression Victims, which will also be erected at the President’s instruction.

Publication of this concept crowns four years of efforts on the part of the Presidential Council for Human Rights and the Kremlin Administration, Rossiyskaya Gazeta daily quotes Sergei Krivenko, a members of the board of the Memorial International Society.

An inter-departmental commission set up specifically for this purpose had come to face with instances of bitter resistance," Krivenko said. "There are forces in this country that try to put up monuments to Stalin and don’t want any discussions on the victims of repressions."

The number of immediate victims of Stalin’s purges that lasted from the end of the 1920’s through to the beginning of the 1950’s runs into millions of people but the exact figure is unknown.

A poll taken by Levada Center in May showed that the percentage of Russians believing the sacrifices the Soviet nation had suffered during the Stalinist epoch were justified by the greatness of the then objectives and results achieved had risen from 25% in 2012 to 45% in 2015.

"Such is the outcome of Stalin’s popularization by separate politicians and in some TV shows," said Dr. Valery Khomyakov, the Director General of the Center for National Strategy.

"On the face of it, the number of programmes that would expose the reality of Stalin’s regime has become far fewer compared with the 1990’s or the early 2000’s," he went on.

Khomyakov supported endorsement of the concept. "I’d like to believe this is the beginning of huge, thorny but important work. It’s important to tell the nation the full scope of truth about events of the 1930’s through the 1950’s and the role that Stalin and his henchmen played then. It’s important because we’re still walking up and down the city streets named after them."

The government’s concept is a signal that the government has set a task of this kind for itself and what is important now is to ensure that this effort does not melt down into a yet another campaign with a zero effect, he said.

Adoption of the concept is critically important if it is followed by practical steps, agrees Lev Ponomaryov, the executive director of the Movement for the Rights of Man.

"I surely support the proposal to include programmes on victims of political repressions in the TV channel schedules, since television is the prime instrument in shaping up the public opinion," he told TASS. "Let’s wait and see the concrete actions that will be made in this sphere."

As for this moment, however, the official position of the federal government and the action of regional and/or local authorities on the issue do not match one another while the attempts on the part of some political forces to whitewash Stalin and even to erect monuments to him do not always meet with a resounding rebuff, Ponomaryov said.

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