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Relatives To Commemorate Victims Of Stalin's Purges

Josef Stalin (RFE/RL) August 5, 2007 -- Dozens of relatives of the victims of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's purges mark a memorial day today in a Russian forest where some of the first mass executions took place 70 years ago.

Some 7,000 people are believed to lie buried in at least 40 mass graves at Sandormokh, near the town of Medvezhegorsk in the northern Russian region of Karelia.

Religious services and lay ceremonies are planned for the Remembrance Day commemoration organized by the Russian human rights group Memorial, which researches the history of the Gulag prison camps.