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Russian Rights Group: Permission Revoked To Honor Soviet Victims At FSB HQs

Soviet police stand guard outside the KGB building (Lubyanka) in Moscow in 1970.

A prominent Russian human rights group says city authorities have revoked permission to hold its annual remembrance ceremony near former KGB headquarters in central Moscow honoring the victims of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's purges.

Memorial, which has held the ceremony on October 29 every year since 2006, said in a post to Facebook that previously granted authorization to hold the event on Moscow's Lubyanka Square had been withdrawn by the Moscow mayor’s office.

The group said authorities had suggested holding the ceremony outside the city center, an option Memorial said was “unacceptable.”

It wasn't immediately clear why the permission had been revoked and city authorities could not be reached for comments late on October 19.

“The action is outrageous,” Memorial wrote in the October 19 posting.

The group said it had received authorization to hold the event by the Federal Protection Services (FSO), the Interior Ministry, and the Central Administrative District.

The group asserted that the traditional site -- outside the office of the Federal Security Service (FSB), the main successor agency to the Soviet-era KGB -- was key to honoring the victims of repression.

In the past, speakers at the Solovetsky Stone memorial read aloud the names, ages, occupations, and dates of execution of some 30,000 Muscovites -- only a small portion of the estimated 1 million or more killed by Soviet authorities in 1937-38.

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