The wooden cross (AFP)
August 8, 2007 -- Russian Orthodox churches throughout Moscow have conducted commemoration services for victims of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin's purges.
The ceremonies marked the 70th anniversary of the day when mass executions started in Moscow's Butovo district.
The executions on August 8, 1937, signaled the start of a wave of purges that killed an estimated 40 million people.
A large wooden cross has been erected in Butovo, at the site where mass executions and burials of political prisoners took place.
The cross was made in a northern Russian monastery on the Solovetsky Islands, which served as a Soviet prison camp in the 1930s.
(compiled from agency reports)
Russia's Democratic Development
Demonstrators speak with local politicians in Butovo about the destruction of a local forest in July 2006 (RFE/RL)
IS RUSSIAN DEMOCRACY MANAGING? Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Western powers seek to pressure Russia under the pretext of concern over its democratic development. He has said Russia is ready to listen to "well-intentioned criticism," but will not allow anyone to interfere in its internal affairs. The Kremlin has been criticized for stifling political oppostion, increasing central control over the media, and cracking down on the work on nongovernmental organizations.