Political repressions victims commemorated in Penza
Penza, 30 October 2014. PenzaNews. A memorial public rally for former political prisoners took place by “The Penitence” memorial on Moskovskaya street on Thursday, October 30. As Tatyana Alfertyeva, the chairman of the regional branch of “Memorial” civil rights society and one of the organizers of the rally, told PenzaNews agency, the event aims to preserve the memories about the victims of Soviet age repressions.
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“The society must never forget of these horrors. If we keep remembering, if we have the lists and databases, if our local lore museum will make exhibitions on these pages of our history, people will not forget about this danger and strive to avoid repeating it again. We must remember not only our dignified countrymen who fell in the Great Patriotic War defending our country, but also those who were arrested and banished to the special settlements. They also worked for the economy of our country: thousands exiled rural men were building the White Sea Canal, those sent to Kazakhstan were building Karaganda and worked in the mines, those sent to Orsk were building Magnitogorsk and digging up ore,” she said.
During the meeting, the students of the Penza children’s music school No. 15 read the poems by Osip Mandelstam and Anna Akhmatova on the hardships of the political prisoners’ lives.
The acts by the Soviet authorities during the age of repression made millions of innocents suffer, said Victor Kondrashkin, the deputy of the Legislative Assembly of the Penza region and History and Local Lore dean of the Penza State University.
“They weren’t the enemies of the state, they were mostly normal people: honest, law-abiding, hard-working citizens, doing the great good for the sake of their country. But the powers that be changed their fates how they saw fit. The people are still debating the reasons, levels, size and consequences of political prison campaign in the Soviet Union. When a poet and a journalist Felix Chuev asked Molotov why this decision was made, Molotov said they were eliminating ‘the fifth coulumn’ while preparing for war. But one can hardly accept such an explanation. Only imagine how many troop divisions would it be possible to forum in 1941. According to the latest information, approximately 40,000 high-ranking officers of the Red Army were imprisoned on political basis. Imagine how the Army would have fared in 1941 if they had stayed in the ranks!” he said.
The public rally participants also recalled the extermination campaign against the Cossacks.
According to Vladimir Tymchuk, deputy chieftain of the Penza division of Volga Combat Cossack Society, the new generation must do everything to not let such tragic events occur again.
After the rally, the participants held a moment of silence for the victims of political repressions and laid flowers to “The Penitence” monument.