Where the first 10 years difficult to master?

Where the first 10 years difficult to master?

(Extracts from contemporary history)

DO YOU REMEMBER HOW EVERYTHING STARTED ...

With some strange feeling we today recall the year 1988, and yet it seems that the things I am going to tell you about did not happen that long ago. But try to tell the students of the upper grades that ten years ago we neither knew about Snickers nor avocados - particularly that there was no cheese available in the shops for many years, that you had to queue for hours to get hold of a small quantity of butter, and that the people flew to Moscow to buy some coffee or a fairly good lipstick ... I fear the students will not believe me!

Well then, at that time the USSR appeared to be an undestroyable alliance. The KGB, an institution of "unfathomable drilling", with its wild horde of secret collaborators. There was the Politburo, the Central, Territory, Regional and District Committees. Sometimes there were 50.000 tanks, sometimes 70.000 (I do not remember their exact number). All right then, at that time we also had the literary Vlassovian Solzhenitsyn. Not here with us, of course, but in Vermont. Sakharov, however, had already been released from internal exile. And the machinery of power had stopped putting people into prison for merely having read the "Gulag Archipelago". The ice floes started to move. The process was getting on, the last hour of the empire was to come soon. And this development could not be stopped, things were uncessantly going downhill. But nobody knew, how all that was going to end: perhaps in a nuclear civil war?

There was the Glavlit, of course, the Main Administration of Literature and Publishing, but the ice floes were still moving on, and suddenly, around the month of January 1988, it started moving to such a degree that the journalist Yuriy Shchkochikhin managed to work his way through to the "Litgazeta" (literary magazine; translator's note) with just a tiny article on the collection of signatures for the erection of a memorial in Moscow in memory of the victims of the Stalinist political reprisals. And not merely a stone, but a real monument. They said that one of the people collecting such signatures was Lev Alexandrovich Ponomarev.

I read this tiny press notice in the late evening. The next morning I set off for the phone booth, since I have no telephone connection at home. I phoned to Moscow, called the editorial department of the "Litgazeta" and, after a while, succeeded in getting Lev Alexandrovich to the phone. In case someone does not know or does not remember who Lev Ponomarev is: he is a physician, Doctor of natural sciences. In 1989 he acted as one of the initiators of the movement "Democratic Russia", later he was the deputy of the Supreme Soviet and the 4th State Duma.

I talked to Ponomarev on the phone, told him my address. He promised to send me a copy of the list of signatures. He had to send it three times. The letter finally arrived - at the third attempt, some time in February.

The problem of how to get copies was solved by a duplicating machine named "Ortex" from the hock shop and a pile of printing paper. Having printed 10 pieces of this list, I took them to the computing center on the 5th of March and - I swear it was a mere accident that the people working there somehow lazed in front of the automatic controlling devices. I went through all departments. It seems that I was able to obtain about ten signatures at that time - and some people were quite terrified.

After this "trial series" I handed over a couple of blank forms to Irina Kuznetsova. She was also successfully collecting signature. I do not exactly remember how it happened, but a few days later we were able to make out Alexey Babiy (a programmer like me). We met him at the municipal House of Culture, inside the Rukov Studio of Literature. Alexey immediately set to work.

By the way, I have to mention that these were just the days of the so-called "stagnation" (and here comes my question for the experts: who remembers the letter of Nina Andreeva?). But somehow we ignored this phenomenon, because we were busy with other things. In these days we clearly noticed that our methodology did not look too good. We had serious plans and intentions which should, under no circumstances, be doomed to failure (we must not make any mistakes)! I knew the telephone number of Vladimir Georgievich Sirotinin. Having come to the conviction that we should not worry the people about unimportant matters, we called him and arranged a meeting. We told him that we had no experience at all, that we were afraid of making mistakes and that he was our sole hope.

Once again, in case someone does not know, I recall to your mind the following: more than two-hundred hours of interrogations carried out by the KGB in the 1960s, until the 1980s, weigh heavily upon Sirotinin. Three times they tried to put him to prison, but did not succeed in doing so: he worked utterly meticulously, so that the KGB was not certain about anything, had no definite proof, just a mere suspect. He worked for the Solzhenitsyn Foundation, an organization that renders help and support to political prisoners and their families.

As expected, Vladimir Georgievich did not raise any objections. During the meeting it turned out that he, too, was already in possession of the list of signatures (the one I had worked out) - they had fluttered to the floor by some favourable wind. And, in fact, he had already started to manifold them himself.

Until early in March we managed to send Ponomarev about fifty signatures. Then a sign-in was carried out on the occasion of a concert that took place in the Club of Amateur Singers, and throughout the whole month of May, during the official holidays, I kept standing with my lists (to collect signatures) at the "Animal Corner".

While I was standing there, I was constantly regretting the fact that I was no psychologist or sociologist. The human reactions at the sight of the lists and all the informative posters (designed by means of plastic stencils) were surprisingly manifold: they went from hatred for the executioner up to ... hatred for the victims. Some were on the verge of tears, others angrily scolded (but this rarely happened), disbelief reigned among the people about the possibility of achieving any changes. "Believe me, comrade, what they now call glasnost (publicity; translator's note) will disappear sooner or later, and then the State Security will recall our names ...

ALL BEGINNINGS ARE DIFFICULT

A simple question: what did we collect these signatures for? The simply reply: we sincerely and deeply felt that it had to be done and that it was very important. And exactly with these lists of signatures the Moscovite Memorialists addressed themselves to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet-Union, as if it were an appaeal to a party conference. And there the lists disappeared. But the process among the people of finally overcoming their wide-spread fear and dull apathy - the main pillars of the Communist regime since the times, when the mass terror finally stopped, was even more important than the mere campaign of collecting signatures. Of course, this had been a political action. Maybe, to be more precise, an action of political illumination. Some kind of political education, if you like it this way. An interesting phenomenon - there was no serious resistence by the machinery of power to be obeserved. In other regions, however, the situation differed from case to case.

While carrying out the collection of signatures, we als committed ourselves to a couple of other activities. I could imagine that some people still recall the demonstration on the 1st of June 1988: the first free demonstration in our town in 70 years! The decision for this demonstration was made by the deputy of the independent Krasnoyarsk organizations ... and this happened on my birthday, in my apartment, one month before the fixed date.

I do not remember all participants, but there was Viktor Salato, Yelchaninov and, of course, Losha Babiy and Ira Kuznetsova. Everybody was very worried about the question: what will happen, if 20 or 30 more people are going to take part in this demonstration (I remember that our slogan was an ecologic one - another "political education")? But I was concerned about a completely different matter: what will happen, if a thousand people participate in this event? An uncontrollable mass! My disquiet made the others laugh.

In actual fact, several thousand people gathered; the demonstration developed from a small core, just like a snowball! God meant well by us - and took care that no provocations arose: the consequences would have been unpredictable. The ruling powers obviously also believed that the expected gathering of people would not comprise more than 20 or 30 cranks, and that was it!

We, the Memorialists, were present in full number, and we had not come empty-handed, but with banners (which we had drawn and painted evenings during the week). The Committee of the Supoort of Glasnost also actively took part in this event; it was the first independent Krasnoyarsk organization, almost forgotten nowadays, which, in my opinion, left lasting traces in the history of our town.

Finally, after quite a large number of people had gathered in front of the Sibirian Institute of Technlogy, we rolled up our banners and proceeded to our main task - the collection of signatures.

Later there was another meeting, which was also prepared and organized by our co-operation, but on this second demonstration we already principally dealt with our own business, our own aims and intentions.

The collection of signatures went on until July 1988. How many signatures did we collect and send to Moscow? More than two-thousand, about thwo thirds. And then? Then we set to work, step by step - a work that is still being continued today. We analyze the history of Communist terror - of the seventy years' Leninist and Stalinist war against the peoples oppressed by them, starting with the Russian, ending with the Afghan people.

From time to time it was a war of extermination - as in 1918-1920, 1929-1933 or 1937-1938, and sometimes, in other periods - a mere war of exhaustion. Later, under Khrushchev, the war changed into what we call the Cold War. This proper state of war has never been interrupted, but has come to life again every now and then: Novocherkassk and other towns of the Russian south, Tbilisi (in 1977, when the people rose, in order to defend their mother tongue), the interventions in Berlin and Czechoslovakia, and, already during the time of the "perestroika" - Alma-Ata, Baku, Tbilisi again, Vilnius and Riga. And Moscow: three days in August. But these three days turned out to be the very last for the regime.

I was unable to imagine that this war could have a relapse: the massacres in the Caucasus in the years 1994-1996. The end of the empire had, in fact, been able to sting and bite "from the other world".

QUESTIONS WITH ANSWERS AND WITHOUT

Well, who are we? Let me explain: we - that is the Krasnoyarsk "Memorial" organization. And today we celebrate our 10th anniversary. We - the local affiliate of the Russian "Memorial" organization of historical research, human rights and charitable aid. I must add though that the Krasnoyarsk "Memorial" concentrates its tasks on the historical research of events which took place in the Krasnoyarsk region ("in our region" as we say).

And for what reason? Well, to learn about the history of our fatherland. If you ask, for example, someone who is just passing by, if he knew anything about this place called Buchenwald, then he will probably give some reasonable answer. But what happens, if you ask him about the ENISSEYSTROY, "SIBULON" or GORLAG? Of course, we should all have an idea about what the far way Buchenwald was, but all the more we should know about the camps in our own native country. This is our history! A history which, in some respects, was not a very pleasant one, but that could not be helped: where are we supposed to get a different one from? "I do not want a different history at all," a great poet once uttered with a deep sigh. I do not know what he would have said, if he had had to live up to the celebrations of Lenin's days ...

If we want to be serious, we will have to cite another classic: "A people that forgets about its past, takes the risk of experiencing it all again".

I am writing all this thinking by myself: for us the past is the GULAG, and for who else? For our neighbours behind Tumanyan? Yes, and behind the rivers Argun and Amur,too. Frankly speaking, there are lots of things which today appear to us merely in bad dreams. And how is all this going to end? Let us hope that things will not meet with a terrible end - such as in Yugoslavia ... by an arsenal of nuclear weapons ...

I would also like to add a few funny observations from the distant year 1988. At that time we were quite often asked a number of rather typical questions. First of all, why we had decided to deal with the subject of the "Stalinist repressions" (this was the official terminology then) - maybe, because some people close to us had suffered from this terror?

Each time we had to give extensive explanations. The reason for why we had decided to do this work was not founded on a view victims among our own relatives or acquintances. The parents of Vladimir Georgievich, for instance, were not affected by the terror (although among his remote relatives there were, of course, victims of political reprisals). My father was put into prison for 10 years. he was sentenced by a Special Board, an itinerant session of the Military Collegium of the USSR Supreme Court (phew, we use the customary abbreviation VK VS USSR). Well! When having a look at the biographical facts, I have to be grateful to the two great leaders (Iossef Vissarionovich and Adolf Aloisovich) for ever and ever, since I would never have come into the world without their intensive, persevering and assiduous "endeavours". For my father's first family was killed by the Nazis in Kharkov. Ira Kuznetsova, too, has to be grateful to the "genius of all times" that she ever had the chance to come into the world: her father, Pobisk Kuznetsov, like my own father, came to Krasnoyarsk after having served his sentence in the Norilsk camp. Some important pages are dedicated to this man in Boris Witman's book of memoirs "The spy, who was betrayed by his fatherland".

The second typical question: "Okay, for one or two years you will be asking victims of political reprisals questions on their fate; but when you have interviewed all of them, what is then going to happen? Not many victims are still alive ...". At the beginning we were also unable to imagine the significance and the extent of this problem, although I was already then convinced that this would not be a task we would have finished within only one year. Ten years have passed by now and we have meanwhile realized that there will still be enough work to do for several generations of historians. We still seem to be at the stage of the zero hour, having just started from the very beginning. By the way, why are we so astonished about that? Even the history of World War II still shows a lot of white spots, although it has already been researched by thousands of historians over a period of more than half a century. And this part of history merely comprises a period of six years - not seventy.

Till now people ask with a wondering look: "How can it be that victims of political reprisals are still contacting you nowadays?" And in such a case I give a very simple explanation: a continuous flood of inquiries and requests for advice are guaranteed to us for the next twenty years. The point is that, if they do not change the pension age, all those born in 1958 (the year of the mass release from internal exile) will retire in the year 2018. Those, who "managed to be born just in time" before this release (that is during the last days of exile), are entitiled to rehabilitation. And since the status of being a rehabilitated person does not bring about any practical advantage before having become a recipient of a pension, many victims only undertake first steps to strive for their rehabilitation after having reached the pension age.

Of course, there were plenty of exiles even after 1958: some Lithuanian and Latvian citizens (from the first deportation in 1941), for example, had to appear for regular check and registration at the commandant's office until 1960 or even later (we do not know for what reason), some Ukrainian exiles from the 1951 deportation were only released in 1963, and some individuals formerly sentenced to 25 years in the camps or in prison, whose term had later been commuted into internal exile, were only set free in 1963-1964. But these were no such widespread occurrences anymore.

The last mass flood of exiles started with Khrushchev's famous "Ukase on Parasitism" in 1961. Nowadays this ukase became most popular by the great writer Brodskiy, who was also sentenced on just this decree. But for some reason or other people do believe that mainly poets, musicians and artists then suffered from the consequences of theis ukase. In fact, thousands of people were persecuted in our region because of their religious belief - true members of the Orthodox and Pentecostal Churches. They were exiled for a fixed period of time.

More often than not people affected by this ukase were convicted to five years. Just for your information: we already succeeded in getting rehabilitation certificates for people who were affected by the above.mentioned decree.

WE AND OUR VISITORS

The reception of visitors to our "Memorial" is something extra-special. At the moment it is I, who sits in the reception office, five times a week, except on weekends and public holidays, when the House of Technics is locked up. In the course of the week about 15-20 people contact us with questions regarding subject matters of our work, sometimes even 40 and more - which we already consider as an immense overburdening. But, of course, we cannot hide away from the situation. Well, the reason is not the great number of visitors, but there are no two questions, problems or tasks alike. Once there was a man, who merely intended to sign an application form, which I had already completed after having talked to him in details a couple of days before. This was done in a minute. Someone else came just to give us some additional information he had received from the UVD, FSB or some other institution, providing answers to questions we had discussed with him earlier. But every now and then we have people, who are contacting us for the very first time. In this case I have to check the facts proving that he is a victim of political reprisals, decide which practical problems have to be solved and in which way this has to be done - and all this might take half an hour or even much more. It goes without saying that sometimes problems can be settled quite easily, but as long as one has not examined the circumstances and facts, one cannot judge the situation. For that reason some people usually remain sitting in our office till the very end of the consultation hours, thus enabling us to give them our undivided attention. It sometimes happens that they start to complain about the long waiting time: they had come first, after all! Then we have to explain to them that they appeared here for the first time today, while the other visitors have already talked to us in all details a month or even a year ago. And sometimes they even try to prove that they have an urgent request to make of us, which will not take more than one minute, either - just two papers need to be copied! And then I reply: Oh, I see! We have to check your case, and that will take forty minutes. - I am seldom wrong, I am speaking from experience.

ABOUT WHAT WE GIVE TO THE PEOPLE

The work with our visitors is based on the principle of recurrence, i.e. once having started to solve a problem, I try to clear up the matter to the very end I explain to the people which institution they have to appeal to, who to inquire of about their specific problem. But sometimes all my efforts are in vain. Many people cannot read and write very well. In such cases everything turns out to be a hopeless attempt, whic takes too much time. It is then easier and much more promising, if we get things going and prepare and send the official applications ourselves.

There is one unfortunate circumstance, however, to be mentioned: the authorities are obliged to reply to the citizens which, in this case, means to the victims of political reprisals or to their relatives. ut they do not have to send their written answers back to "Memorial". And, in fact, as a rule, they do not reply. For that reason the applications have to be issued in the name of the visitor asking for advice, which means that he or she will have to come once again, after we filled in all the necessary forms, and sign the papers personally.

Even the solution of an entirely concrete problem might take several months. Supposing that the father of a petitioner was sentenced to serve his term in prison or in a camp somewhere in the Omsk region and this petitioner is not in possession of any documents related to these facts, we first of all have to write to the Omsk regional FSB and wait for their answer, which will generally come to hand within two months. The next step would then be to make inquiries about his father's rehabilitation at the Omsk regional court. This sometimes takes one and a half months' time. Finally the formal request to the Omsk public prosecutor regarding the acknowledgement that the person in question is being considered a victim of political reprisals. Moreover I have to explain which documents are needed for the social welfare office, who to contact there and which special allowances will be applicable in this particular case, and - that by means of the official acknowledgement of being a victim of political reprisals, he can insist on the right of being rehabilitated, as soon as all the amendments and completions of the Rehabilitation Law have been definitely passed by the Duma.

Thus, four or five months pass by, although this is one of the simplest examples of a case that might occur. In other words: starting from "point zero" the whole problem will be done with after the person searching our help has been to our office at least six times.

For those who might ask "why do these people contact "Memorial", instead of immediately proceeding to the public prosecutor's or the UVD"? - let me explain that many of them directly go to these official public institutions, but are there recommended to call on us first. And this is being done for different reasons: in some cases our regional institutons do not declare themselves competent in solving the problem in question, some people are not in possession of all necessary documents or there are other difficulties to be mastered first. And they act correctly: the public prosecutor is not very knowledgable about the concerns and questions of the exiles; this lies within the authority of the UVD; the UVD, however, does not deal with compensation payments for confiscated property and so on. But "Memorial" tries to solve all these problems in their entirety.

The vistors step in and say: I need this document to be copied. And my reply is: well, when I have checked your matter, I will tell you what you need. People often come here to obtain some information about how to receice an official paper acknokledging them victims of political reprisals, and it turns out that they have the right to be rehabilitated, as well, since they had been living in internal exile for many years. Every now and then people do not even know about their having been in exile, but I can clearly see it from the documents they bring along.

ABOUT WHAT OUR WORK MEAN TO US

Primarily it means that one of our defined tasks is to render help and support to the victims of political reprisals and all persons concerned, mainly with regard to the rehabilitation of their rights as it is provided for by the Rehabilitation Law. But whenever people ask me what is the most important thing to us, I stress out that "Memorial" is doing historical research in the first place; and secondly I mention the term of "human rights". The streams of visitors mean a lot to us. They represent an irreplacable source of historic information. We are very well aware of the fact that the archival documents do not tell the whole truth, for hey were often written and issued by the hands of the executers and their accomplicies. It is therefore absolutely necessary to confront the archival materials with every other possible source of information, just to "straighten the curvatures". I also now about the phenomenon that the brains begin to dry out, when you have worked in the archives for a relatively long period of time; and I am sure to lose the sense of truth and reality for the occurrences shown in the archival documents.

Well, are we to believe what is written in the documents or do we better believe what the people tell us in person? Even eye-witnesses sometimes tell a pack of lies! And the documents are often bristling with all kinds of mistakes, errors and oversights regarding data and names. The matter is a quite simple one: only one data source can only show half of the truth, two sources are already much more reliable, three sources - they almost represent a hundred percent truth, unless all three sources are based on different origins, i.e. unless they are entirely independent of eachother.

In general, the main principle of "Memorial's" research activities is the gathering, comparison and linking together of all available facts from all accessible sources. We try to put together a historic picture from many, many tiny fragments, just like a mosaic work, but we have one important advantage: we dispose of witnesses and their vivid, even though sometimes incomplete, remembrance.

During the consultation hours we sometimes do not exclusively have to concentrate on human rights' questions, but also realize research or even carry through educational work. From time to time someone comes to us, deeply convinced that his father was executed as a consequence of informing against him. Or he would like to look through the archival file in order to learn "who signed the denunciation protocoll". In this case we have to explain that the reason for why his father was shot was not the informing, even though he had factully been denounced before his violent death. The NKVD (called OGPU before and later the MGB) merely FULFILLED THE QUOTAS. If there had not been this denunciation, they would have, in all probability, executed someone else instead. And the quotas were the QUOTAS FIXED BY THE PARTY. The party said: this is a MUST. And that is all. That is the only reason. In this manner they treated the "kulaks" early in the 1930s, as well as the traitors to the motherland in the 1940s. The true accomplices of the Hitlerites almost all succeeded to hide away and disappear, but the quota concerning the traitors had to be fulfilled anyway! The NKVD - MGB did what they had been ordered to do: they were members of the armed forces - orders are orders.

LEGENDS AND MYTHS, NUMBERS AND FACTS

The story goes that the interrogators, by all menas, were to force the arrestee "to sign his confession" - and that is why the accused was tortured. This is only partly true: many did not sign ("they did not confess") and were sentnced anyway. We are even aware of the fact that in some cases they fixed a term of confinement without having carried out a single interrogation! We learned about this personally from people who had to serve their sentence on such a decision. Of course, we do not know, whether or not they executed people without having questioned them before: we are unable to ask them.

Yet another legend: every day the prisoners carefully gave their paragraph and their term of confinement when leaving for work. But this did not always happen and not in all places: hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions, of prisoners were kept in the camps without knowing their paragraph or their term of detention. These term had been decided by an OSO ("Special Board") in the 1940s. But something like this also used to happen in 1938: the prisoners were transported away to a camp and only then, sooner or later, learned about their term. It is falsely said that the troykas, during the period of the Great terror (1937-38) administered in absentia sentences only on section 58, i.e. exclusively for "political" offences. This is not correct: most of the files that passed through the hands of the troykas mainly in 1937 were the files of criminals, who had no relation to politics at all. But some of these files were, of course, based on FABRICATED cases. They were nothing else but fake. In case someone does not believe us - we will be able to show him the corresponding documents.

The number of 60 million people also gives rise to lots of misunderstandings. This number (or even 100 millions) is mentioned by researchers who dealt with the decrease in population in the USSR as a result of the mass terror. But this is not the number of people who perished, it is a calculated number, which includes unborn children, i.e. children who would have been born if their parents had stayed alive. All this has to be taken into consideration. The number of perished people could be even higher than the number of individuals affected by persecutions. For the victims of the so-called "hunger-terror" in 1932-33 (in the Ukraine, the Kuban region and Kazakhstan) were not formally persecuted at all: they were neither arrested nor exiled, but simply taken away all foodstuffs. A typical case of murder "without bloodshed". Many are of the opinion that the Leningrad Blockade must not be included here: but it is not quite clear, who actually imposed the blockade - the Wehrmacht or the NKVD?

From these observations and comments we can see that two different terms must not be confounded: "victims of political reprisals" and "victims of the regime". It goes without saying that much more people belong to the second category.

Every now and then it might happen that someone asks the silly question: why are there only a few Kazakhs left in Kazakhstan, less than half of the population? And none of them living in the northern and eastern regions anymore? Because in 1933 only one third of all Kazakhs had remained there: the second third starved to death, when the Communists took away the cattle from the nomads,in order to make them settle in place (it was, of course, difficult to have wandering nomads under control), the last third drove their cattle over the border to a Chinese place called Sinziang.

In social consciousness lots of figures are considered to be exaggerated: for instance, that more than one million prisoners passed through the Norilsk camps. This was not the case at all: the number of prisoners amounted to less than half a million, more likely about 400.000. The false figures also include nonpolitical prisoners (which were completely innocent of the crimes they had been blamed for) and true criminals. The number of political prisoners obviously did not exceed 300.000.

It is not unlikely that there were accomplices of the Nazis among the inmates who were, in fact, guilty of having committed war crimes, but they were certainly only a few.

By the way, the Norillag did not only comprise the territory of Norilsk, including Dudinka and Kayerkan: it also comprised the 8th forced labour camp sector in Krasnoyarsk, the camp in Podtesovo, as well as the farm and market gardens attached to the farm camps in Kureyka, up to Shushenskoe more to the south.

We are not only talking about the dimensions of this terrorism, but about the fact that the Communists wiped out and put behind barbed wire fences the nation's elite: the most hardworking farmers, the experts in the field of agriculture, the most experienced and well-trained workers, the most upright and intelligent jurists, economists, historians, the most talented and veracious writers and poets, etc., etc.

Another legend, an entirely absurd one, although it steadfastly survived till nowadays: that in 1938-38 the members of the All-Russiand Communsit Party of the Bolsheviks, on the whole, suffered from the Great Terror. That's a nice way to say that in our region among those who were arrested during the period of the Great terror were not more than 2-3% of Communists. Maybe the percentage was slightly higher in Moscow, insignificantly though!

Well, at that time most upright and honest people came under the influence of the Communists of that time, who sincerely believed in all the Marxist blather. When they finally realized their fault, they were alredy marked by fate. Just think of the partisans of Taseyevo.

Nowadays, the Communists show that they have no regrets, that they even do not feel sorry about those party members, who were imprisonned and executed at Stalin's times. But they forget to straighten out, who admitted them to the party - the executed? Or those, who carried out the executions?

All these legends, however, represent something like a reflection. Laterally inverted, but nevertheless quite phantastic: the Great Terror did not essentially affect the intelligentsia. In fact, the farmers were in the vast majority - both among the executed and among those, who perished in the concentration camps (at that time they had already been renamed into corrective labour camps), were sent into internal exile, into forest camps, mines or other "buildings of Communism", no matter whether they had been chased away from a kolkhoz farm or, stripped to the skin, from their own piece of land.

I have to admit that, due ti my own ignorance, I often "crawled in unknown kitchen gardens", since the person in charge of historical research is our memorialist Vladimir Georgievich Sirotinin. He organizes and carries through exhibitions, gives lectures to high-school teachers in our subject matters, etc. But the work in the archives has almost come to a standstill recently: for some reason or other they refuse to afford us access to the files we are in need of. Even the professors of history at the university complain about this situation.

With reference to my sphere of work, namely to assist and support the victims of political reprisals in word and deed, I would like to take this opportunity to remind the public that our consulting hours are carried out in the House of Technics (by the side of the Municipal Administration and the House of the Actor), on weekdays from 6.00 pm.

Tel. 27-93-83 or 65-13-85.

You can leave a message for me, but it will not be easy to get me on the phone. Vladimir Georgievich can also be contacted by phone.
At home: 21-34-02
At work: 23-83-22
Our mailing address is: 660049 Krasnoyarsk 49 Prospect Mira, 3 "Memorial"

In fact, we merely dispose of a postbox with the main post office.
Our e-mail address is: memorial@maxsoft.ru

I conclude by mentioning that we recently opened our own website, where we intend to progressively publish all gathered historical information. Lots of interesting things can be read there already now. We invite you to visit our site:

www.memorial.krsk.ru


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