In Memory of the Victims of the Great Terror


5 August 1937 marked the beginning of the “mass NKVD operations” which over sixteen months in 1937-1938 resulted in the arrest of approximately 1.7 million people and execution of more than 700 thousand people.

A Ceremony of Remembrance will take place in the Sandarmokh Clearing in Karelia where the last earthly remains lie of 1,111 prisoners from the labour camp on Solovky Island, murdered according to “quota” between 27 October and 4 November 1938, and of countless other victims of the Terror. International Remembrance Days have been held at Sandarmokh every year since the Memorial Graveyard was uncovered in 1997. 

A Ukrainian group set off by coach on 2 August. Those travelling to Sandarmokh and Solovky this year include relatives of those murdered, former political prisoners, the historian Yury Shapoval and journalists. The entire journey will take 10 days.

The Sandarmokh Clearing holds a Cossack Cross in granite “To the Slaughtered Sons and Daughters of Ukraine”, Russian Orthodox and Polish Catholic Crosses, a Memorial Muslim Plaque and a Jewish Stone.

The frenzied madness unleashed on 5 August 1937 was in accordance with Resolution R 51/94 «On anti-Soviet elements» passed by the Politburo on 2 July. According to this the secretaries of regional, area, republic-wide organizations and representative bodies of the NKVD were told within a period of five days to create “special panels of three” [troika] and establish the number of people who were to be shot or sent away.  The “operation” was supposed to last 4 months.  In fact, it was suspended at the decision of the Politburo on 15 November 1938.

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