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Artist Brings Stalin's Victims Into Present Day

Khasan Bakhayev creates photo collages that merge the victims of Josef Stalin's Great Terror with contemporary subjects. He began posting his images online on October 27, three days before Ukraine observed the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repressions. The first of his collages used a photograph of Tamara Litsinskaya, who was executed by a firing squad in 1937. Bakhayev says he wanted to emphasize that Stalin’s regime is not in the distant past, and that its victims were ordinary people, just like those who are alive today.

Bakhayev’s artwork elicited an emotional response. Dozens of people around the globe sent him pictures of their relatives so he could “bring them to life” in his collages. “These photos show people in one of the most critical moments of their lives: they were photographed before entering a slaughterhouse. This is the doorway to hell. You look at these people and realize what their fate would be. This gives special energy to these photographs. This job takes a lot of mental energy from me, but I can’t stop doing it.”


Tamara Litsinskaya was a part-time student of the Workers' University. She was sentenced to death for “participation in an anti-Soviet terrorist organization” and executed by firing squad six months after her arrest. She was 28 years old.
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Tamara Litsinskaya was a part-time student of the Workers' University. She was sentenced to death for “participation in an anti-Soviet terrorist organization” and executed by firing squad six months after her arrest. She was 28 years old.

Oleg Korzun, a 25-year-old mountain climber, was executed by firing squad on charges of espionage and terrorist activities.
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Oleg Korzun, a 25-year-old mountain climber, was executed by firing squad on charges of espionage and terrorist activities.

Raisa Bochlen was 21 when she was executed on charges of spying for Japan. She worked as a typist at the Chief Directorate of the Northern Sea Route.
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Raisa Bochlen was 21 when she was executed on charges of spying for Japan. She worked as a typist at the Chief Directorate of the Northern Sea Route.

Yevgenia Yaroslavskaya-Markon was executed in 1931 at the age of 30. Her husband, Aleksandr Yaroslavsky, had been sentenced to five years of forced labor and sent to the Solovki camp in the Arkhangelsk region. In 1930, Yevgenia began planning to help her husband escape, and was subsequently arrested. She and her husband were executed within six months of one another. 
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Yevgenia Yaroslavskaya-Markon was executed in 1931 at the age of 30. Her husband, Aleksandr Yaroslavsky, had been sentenced to five years of forced labor and sent to the Solovki camp in the Arkhangelsk region. In 1930, Yevgenia began planning to help her husband escape, and was subsequently arrested. She and her husband were executed within six months of one another. 

Soviet theater director Vsevolod Meyerhold was arrested in 1931 for “counterrevolutionary criminal activities.” He was executed by firing squad on February 2, 1940, half a year after his arrest.
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Soviet theater director Vsevolod Meyerhold was arrested in 1931 for “counterrevolutionary criminal activities.” He was executed by firing squad on February 2, 1940, half a year after his arrest.

Actress Zinaida Raikh was killed a few weeks after the execution of her husband, Vsevolod Meyerhold. An unidentified perpetrator broke into her apartment at night and stabbed her 17 times.
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Actress Zinaida Raikh was killed a few weeks after the execution of her husband, Vsevolod Meyerhold. An unidentified perpetrator broke into her apartment at night and stabbed her 17 times.

Mikhail Shik, a 50-year-old Orthodox priest, was executed in 1937.
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Mikhail Shik, a 50-year-old Orthodox priest, was executed in 1937.

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