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'Red Terror' Mass Grave Found In St. Petersburg

The Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg
The Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg
ST. PETERSBURG -- Archeologists working at the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg have discovered some 100 bone fragments that they say are part of a mass grave from the Red Terror of 1918, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Oleg Ioannesyan, the head of the Hermitage museum's Department of Architectural Archeology, told RFE/RL that this episode of Russian history has not been formally commemorated.

"It's stupid that the government has not constructed a memorial," he said.

The assassination in St. Petersburg of Bolshevik official Mosei Uritsky and an unsuccessful attempt on Vladimir Lenin's life a short time later sparked mass arrests and executions by the Bolshevik government that is known as the Red Terror.

An estimated 10,000-15,000 people were killed during the terror campaign. At least several hundred people are known to have been executed in St. Petersburg.

The archeologists said the remains they found were riddled with bullet holes. Based on the clothes they have found with the remains, they believe the victims were mainly middle-aged.

The archeologists added that they had only explored one-fourth of the area at the fortress. But they said they had no funds to continue the excavations.