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Russian Activists Honor Victims Of Soviet Repression

A man marking the Day of Soviet Political Prisoners (file photo) (ITAR-TASS) October 30, 2006 -- Russian rights activists are holding annual commemorations today to remember the victims of political repression.

Events on the Day of Soviet Political Prisoners include a seminar, a rally, and an Internet listing of the names of some 1.5 million victims of Soviet political terror.

The organizers of the rally include the Moscow Helsinki Group, the Memorial rights center, and the Yabloko and Union of Rightist Forces political parties.

Russian President Vladimir Putin told a cabinet meeting today in Moscow that law-enforcement authorities should do all they can to help in the identification of such victims.

"I ask each government member not to forget about it and to provide assistance in [the search for information and legal rehabilitation] and do everything to make sure that not a single person, not a single victim, remains unknown or unidentified, so that society always remembers and knows about it, so that nobody has the slightest desire ever again to repeat those elements of the past today or tomorrow," he said.

The Day of Soviet Political Prisoners was first commemorated by rights activists in 1974. It has been publicly celebrated since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

Activists say the date has taken on new meaning in Putin's Russia. Activists accuse Putin of increasing his grip on power and cutting freedoms.

(Interfax, AP)

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