Monday, October 16, 2023

Across Russia, Monuments to Those Repressed by Stalin Being Destroyed and Even Replaced by Monuments to Those who Persecuted Them

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Oct. 12 – Since Gorbachev’s time, approximately 2000 monuments to victims of political repressions have been put up inside the Russian Federation. Since the start of Putin’s war in Ukraine, many of them, and especially those connected with Poles, Lithuanians and Ukrainians have been destroyed – and replaced by memorials to Stalinist criminals.

            Irina Flige, the head of the Memorial Research Center, says that as a result, today memorials “have become a field of battle” over which memories will be remembered and which will be suppressed (

            No one has taken responsibility for these actions and the authorities have shown no willingness anywhere to seek to identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice, a pattern that suggests a general order has been given from above rather than this being the work of isolated individuals.

            At present, Fliga says, “we don’t know who ordered these actions or who carried them out.” In “the more than 15 cases known to us,” “no one has taken responsibility. Regional authorities don’t open criminal cases, with some blaming weather, unknown vandals or the need to restore them.”

            But the Memorial expert says, “the pattern of targeted destruction is obvious and requires public investigation.”

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