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Russian Journalist Says Vandals Destroy Plaque Commemorating Soviet Terror Victim

A Russian journalist said vandals have ripped a plaque commemorating a victim of Soviet repression from a building in the Siberian city of Barnaul.

Sergei Parkhomenko, who is helping lead a national initiative to commemorate victims of Soviet purges, said the February 25 incident appeared to be the first since the organization known as "Last Address" launched its effort.

The project draws on the vast historical database of Soviet repression compiled by the rights group Memorial.

It invites Russians to pay between 3,500 and 4,000 rubles ($75-85) for a plaque -- either for a relative or somebody who lived in their building.

Parkhomenko said in a post on Facebook that two men told passersby who tried to stop them that "we were told to take it down, so we’re taking it down."

He said it was first incident of outright vandalism against more than 200 plaques that began going up nationwide earlier this month.