Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repressions

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Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repressions
The fence at the old GULag in Perm-36.JPG
The fence and guard tower at the Soviet forced labor camp Perm-36 100 km northeast of the city of Perm in Russia, part of the prison camp system operated by the Soviet Union in the Stalin era known as the Gulag. The last remaining example of a Gulag labor camp, the site has been preserved as a museum and is open to the public as The Museum of the History of Political Repression Perm-36
Official nameDay of Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repressions
DateOctober 30
Next time30 October 2021 (2021-10-30)

Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repressions (Russian: День памяти жертв политических репрессий), is an annual day of remembrance for victims of political repression in the Soviet Union.

Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repressions has been commemorated on October 30, since 1991, when the Supreme Soviet of Russia officially established 30 October as the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repressions.[1][2] This day is also officially a public holiday in the Russian Federation.

Traditional meeting places since 1991[edit]

Sorted by the Eight Federal Districts

Central Russia[edit]

  • Moscow
    • Lubyanka Square by the Solovetsky Stone in front of the Polytechnial Museum on October 29 (not October 30!). Russian human rights activists offered to commemorate the victims of communist terror in the City of Moscow near the Solovetsky Stone not on the officially settled by Russian government October 30 but on the unofficial October 29 to be independent from the state ceremonies. The annual meeting on the October 29 near the Solovetsky Stone is called "Return of the names" (Russian: Возвращение имён) because participants read lists of the victims of communist terror.[3][4]

Northwest Russia[edit]

Volga Federal District[edit]

  • Perm
    • Perm-36 Kuchino village, Chusovoy district.
    • Memorial of the Victims of Political Repression in Yagoshikha memorial cemetery, Perm
  • Samara
    • Gagarin Park

South Russia[edit]

North Caucasus[edit]

The nine republics of the North Caucasus suffered under Stalin, most notably during the deportation of entire nations: the Balkar and Karachay in 1937; the Chechen and Ingush in 1944, during the Great Patriotic War.

The wartime deportation of the Chechen nation to Central Asia was marked every year since the 1991 Decree of Rehabilitation of Repressed Nations until 2016 when the Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov prohibited such ceremonies.



Russian Far East[edit]


Origins among 1970s political prisoners[edit]

The commemoration is held on the date of the Day of the Political Prisoner in the USSR, an initiative in 1974 by imprisoned Soviet dissidents, led by Kronid Lyubarsky for the recognition of inmates' status as political prisoners.[5]

This official date, introduced in April 1991, has gradually been adopted all over Russia as a Day of Remembrance for those "repressed" (i.e. arrested, exiled, sent to the camps or shot) during the collectivisation of agriculture (1927-1933), in the forced-labour camps of the Gulag, and shot in their tens of thousands during the Great Terror of 1937-1938. This year, for instance, such a ceremony was held by the Solovetsky Stone in St Petersburg and at the memorial cemeteries created at the killing fields of the late 1930s, e.g. Krasny Bor near Petrozavodsk and Butovo in southern Moscow.

As new political prisoners appear in Putin's Russia, there have been objections to the appropriation by the State of an unofficial day of protest, that started among dissidents in camps for "political" offenders. Even a separation between the two, with the emergence of the unofficial "Restoring the Names" ceremony, has not satisfied all critics.[6]

"Return of the names", 2007 to present[edit]

Since 2007 Memorial has organised a day-long ceremony "Restoring the Names" every 29 October on the eve of the official Day of Remembrance in Moscow.[7] In 2017, the contrast between the official and unofficial days of commemoration in the Russian capital, and the style in which they were held was particularly striking.[8]

On Sunday 29 October 2017, 5,286 people attended the Restoring the Names ceremony at the Solovki Stone a short distance from FSB (NKVD) headquarters on Lubyanka Square, where over one thousand read aloud names of those killed by the regime in Moscow during Stalin's era.[9]

The next day, Monday 30 October 2017, the Wall of Grief (designer Georgy Frangulyan), a massive new monument to the Victims of Political Repression, was opened on Sakharov Avenue by President Vladimir Putin and Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church. The low-key ceremony was attended by one hundred people. Among them were: elderly relatives of those repressed in the Stalin period; members of the committee that judged several hundred entries in a competition to design the new memorial (Ludmila Alexeyeva, Natalya Solzhenitsyn, Roman Romanov); and human rights officials from the presidential administration -- Mikhail Fedotov, Tatiana Moskalkova and Vladimir Lukin.[10]

Photo gallery[edit]


  1. ^ Постановление Верховного Совета РСФСР от 18.10.91 N 1763/1-I «Об установлении Дня памяти жертв политических репрессий». (The Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR of 18.10.91 N 1763/1-I "On establishing the Day of Remembrance for victims of political repression.")
  2. ^ Putin visits memorial to victims of Stalinist Great Terror, The New York Times, October 30, 2007
  3. ^ Поливанов, Александр (October 28, 2017). "Акция «Возвращение имен» 29 октября. Почему туда надо идти?". Meduza (in Russian). Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  4. ^ "Return of the names. About". Возвращение имён. International Memorial. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  5. ^ "Political Prisoner's Day in the USSR", A Chronicle of Current Events, No 33, 10 December 1974.
  6. ^ Alexander Podrabinek (and Alexei Smirnov) "A day of commemoration has replaced Political Prisoner's Day" Rights in Russia, 29 October 2016.
  7. ^ "Rights Activists Read Aloud Soviet-Era Victims' Names". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. 29 October 2010. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  8. ^ "Restoring the Names, 2017" Dmitriev Affair website, 27 October 2017.
  9. ^ "Restoring the Names", Dmitriev Affair website, 29 October 2017.
  10. ^ "TV omits Dmitriev statement from its report", Dmitriev Affair website, 27 October 2017.