Accessibility links

Breaking News

Dozens Recite Names Of Stalin's Victims In Moscow Ceremony

A man lays flowers at a monument in central Moscow commemorating the victims of Stalinist repression. (file photo)
A man lays flowers at a monument in central Moscow commemorating the victims of Stalinist repression. (file photo)

Dozens of Russians read aloud the names of the victims of Stalin's purges, an annual demonstration that comes amid a shift in thinking about the Soviet leader.

The event took place October 29 under cold, dreary skies outside the Moscow headquarters of Russia's main security agency, the successor to the feared KGB.

The names, ages, and professions of some 30,000 people killed at the peak of Stalin's so-called Great Terror, in 1937-1938, were read out by activists and ordinary Russians.

The annual "Returning The Names" ceremony is organized by one of Russia's oldest and best known rights organization, Memorial, which has come under increasing pressure.

WATCH: A Video Stream Of The 'Returning The Names' Commemoration Ceremony In Moscow

The group has been listed by the government as a "foreign agent," a designation that puts restrictions on its operations. The label also bears connotations of a designation used during Soviet times to repress opposition activists and dissidents.

Russians have long had mixed feelings about the Soviet dictator, criticizing him for the creation of the system of Gulag labor camps and the purges of the 1930s. But many also hail his leadership during the fight against Nazi Germany during World War II.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has also suggested that Stalin was a greater leader than history has made him out to be.

Also in conjunction with October 29 ceremony, Memorial released a list of political prisoners being held, a number the group said had doubled in recent years.

  • 16x9 Image


    RFE/RL journalists report the news in 27 languages in 23 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established. We provide what many people cannot get locally: uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

If you are in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine and hold a Russian passport or are a stateless person residing permanently in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine, please note that you could face fines or imprisonment for sharing, liking, commenting on, or saving our content, or for contacting us.

To find out more, click here.