Moscow (AsiaNews) - Starting this morning until this evening, the names of Stalin's repression in the 1930s were read out in front of the Lubyanka Building, the infamous headquarters of of the Soviet secret service (KGB), now home of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB). Meanwhile, a recent survey indicates that almost one Russian in two believes that the persecutions under Stalin's reign terror could happen again.
The ceremony, which is has been held every year for the past eight years, is called "The return of names". It is organised by Memorial, a Human Rights NGO on the eve of the 'Day of Remembrance of the victims of political repressions," which is celebrated every October 30 in Russia.
The event was held in a small park that contains the Solovetsky Stone, which was brought from the Solovki camp - the first and one of the cruellest Soviet labour camps.
According to a Memorial official, Yelena Zhemkova, the names of thousands of victims, their age, profession and date of execution will be read out, people who were shot in Moscow between 1937 and 1938, a period of two years known as the time of the "Great Terror". Altogether, 30,000 people were shot in the Russian capital alone.
The same ceremony will be held tomorrow at the Butovo firing range, just outside Moscow, where the Church of the New Martyrs and Confessors now stands on the site where many Christians, both Catholic and Orthodox, were executed, a place the late Patriarch of Moscow, Alexy II, described "as on one of many Russian Golgothas".
In the meantime, according to a recent survey by the Public Opinion Foundation, 48 per cent of respondents anticipated the possibility of a return to political repression like those of the 1930s within their lifetime, with 14 per cent describing the likelihood of such a shift as high.
According to the survey, two thirds of Russians believe that the USSR was responsible for massive political persecutions, against 16 per cent who said it did not.
About 40 per cent blamed Stalin for the repression. Another 9 per cent blamed everyone. An additional 15 per cent said no one could ultimately be held responsible for the purges because "such were the times."
The Great Terror, also simply referred to as 'Thirty-Seven' is a symbol of the system of mass killings organised and carried out by the Soviet Union.
In 1937 and 1938, more than 1.7 million people were arrested on political charges. If we add the victims of deportations and those convicted as "socially harmful elements", mass repression touched more than two million. More than 700,000 of those arrested were executed.
Repression also profoundly touched the representatives of the new Soviet political, military, economic elite. Mass elimination was well known across the whole country, including people with an unblemished record of loyalty towards the regime, something that raised the level of panic and mass psychosis. (N.A.)