Minsk declared 2017 the Year of Commemoration in Memory of the victims of Soviet repressions in Belarus.
Revolution anniversary or a celebration or terror?
Minsk held a briefing of the organizing committee for creation of a historical and educational association "Returning of memory", dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the Great Terror. For the first time the statistics on the repressions in Belarus, collected on the basis of the official sources was summarized. "EuroBelarus" Information Service learned what groups of the Belarusians were destroyed in the Stalinist machine of torture.
Ihar Kuzniatsou, a historian and researcher of repressions during 1920 - 1950s suggested:
"This year our country will be celebrating as a holiday the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution. We will live in two realities. It will be a year of mixed feelings, the society will be divided. "
The expert recalled that 10 years ago, 2007 was pronounced a Year of Commemoration as well. But during all this time almost nothing has changed, everything done to perpetuate our past was 100% done by civil society.
Meanwhile, 28 years ago the Council of Ministers of the BSSR adopted the document "The perpetuation of Memory of the victims of mass repressions in 1937 - 1941 in the wooded area Kurapaty "(1989.). But it gave no results as well.
According to the estimates of Ihar Kuzniatsou, about 1.5 million people were repressed in Belarus. The official figures show only 600 thousand people. However there is a peculiar and mysterious fact: over the years 200 thousand people have been rehabilitated in Belarus. But in 1999, a presidential decree stopped the rehabilitation process claiming that it has been finished "due to the full completion of reviewing all the cases." But where have 400 thousand people according to the official statistics gone?
"It is a crime to modestly say that we had 600 thousand people repressed and to be silent about it for 22 years. Everyone should do something, so that it doesn’t happen again,"- passionately believes the expert.
"Even the Nazis did not cope with this pace"
According to the historian, 60% of the Belarusians deported to the remote areas of the Soviet Union were shot.
"The society is silent. Do you think it was different in the 37th? A free person behaving like a slave – scared of everything, of losing one’s job, losing benefits - is a syndrome of the 1937th”.
The expert showed some statistics on the victims of repressions in Belarus. 90% were males, 8% - females, 2% - minors. Average age of the repressed varies from 18 to 50 years old. As for the nationalities, 65.7% were Belarusians, 20.7% Poles, 4.5% - Jews. The division by social origin goes as follows: 78.5% were small farmers, 8.4% - workers, more than 60% pf the victims had only primary or incomplete education or illiterate at all. Therefore it is a mistake to think that the repressions of the 1937th affected the intelligentsia only.
The highest number of arrests goes for 1931 – 1940s. People were mostly accused of anti-Soviet propaganda, spying and working for foreign intelligence. On the territory of our country as much as 34 counter-revolutionary organization were "disclosed".
"It was a pipeline. Even the Nazis did not cope with this pace,"- commented Ihar Kuzniatsou.
"We are upset with the internal state of our society"
80 years later the problem of mass graves and executions still remains unsolved. The only officially recognized place is Kurapaty. Meanwhile, there are 112 of such places across the country.
"We decided to create an initiative to return the memory of the repressed ancestors to the people. The initiative works with the volunteers who make talaka – communal work in Kurapaty, special evening gatherings, round tables,"- explained Hanna Shaputska, a member of the organizing committee for creation of a historical and educational association "Returning of memory".
According to her, the Association is going to pay attention to perpetuating the memory of the tortured women and children in 2017. Cultural events, thematic film shows will be held within the framework of the "Sacred memory of fire" campaign. The "Marathon of memory" will continue the monthly events of people visiting the places of mass executions in Minsk, it is scheduled to put up no less than 100 crosses in Kurapaty this year. A separate event will be the Day of Commemoration in Memory of the victims of Soviet repressions on October 29.
Uladzimir Ramanouski, a friend of the organizing committee drew the attention to the need to create a textbook on the repressions in Belarus.
"We are upset with the internal state of our society. We are obviously very split. Therefore, I declare that we are ready to ensure a unification on all platforms ", - he said.