In memory of the slaughtered sons and daughters of Ukraine.
On 2 July 1937 the Political Bureau of the Central committee of the VKP(b) approved resolution No. П 51/94 “On anti-Soviet elements”, which recommended to the secretaries of the oblast, regional and republican organizations, as well as to representatives of the NKVD, to create, within five days, the “special threes” and to determine the quantity of persons, who had to be executed or exiled. The operation began on 5 August 1937 according to order No. 004487 of the NKVD of the USSR, and had to last for four months. In fact, it was stopped on 15 November 1938 after the decision of the Political Bureau of the Central committee of the VKP(b). This was the most mass in the Soviet times “purge” of the society from the categories of population, which, in the opinion of Soviet authorities, were not suitable for building of communism. During 15 months of this campaign the “special threes”, without any investigations, trials, prosecutors, advocates and, very often, even without the accused, issued 681692 death sentences. The sentences were executed immediately. The officials directly fulfilled the instruction of V. Lenin, the creator of the Soviet state: “You must be absolutely merciless. You must shoot without questions and idiotic red tape!”
Quotas for repressions of the first and second categories (1 -- death by shooting; 2 – incarceration; the proportion – 3:1) were sent to every republic, oblast and district. The executors sent the reports about overfulfillment of these quotas, the socialistic competition began for such overfulfillment, the requests were handed about the increase of the quotas, especially in the first category. So, Israil Leplevskiy, a peoples commissar of internal affairs of the UkrSSR, thrice asked for such increase, and new peoples commissar Aleksandr Uspenskiy, who was appointed to this post in January of 1938, -- twice. And Moscow satisfied these requests.
The “threes” worked with all layers of population. The repressions were applied to “kulaks”, “criminals”, “counter-revolutionaries” of various kinds, “rebels”, “churchmen”, “spies”, “Trotskyites”, “saboteurs”, “wreckers” and “bourgeois nationalists”, that is Ukrainian intelligentsia, which, according to Stalins words “deserved no credit”…
Certainly, the repressions concerned all peoples, which were unfortunate to live in the Russian empire with the new name “USSR”. However, the Ukrainian people suffered most of all, since Ukrainians, with their deep religiousness, love of freedom and thirst for independent life was not fit for the building of communism and had to be replaced.
In the accordance with the mentioned Resolution, the “purge” was also carried out in concentration camps. So, Eykhman, the head of the Solovki special prison, got the order to compile the list of 1825 convicts for execution. One group, 507 prisoners, was shot near Leningrad on 8 December 1937, another group, 200 convicts, -- in Solovki on 14 February 1938. The lot of 1116 persons, the so-called “Solovki transport”, became known only in 1997: on 27 October, 1, 2, 3 and 4 November 1937 captain Mikhail Matveev shot 1116 Solovki prisoners in Sandarmokh – “a usual place for executions” in the north Karelia, near the Belomorkanal channel, where about 8 thousands victims, builders of the channel, had been already buried in 150 graves.
The “Solovki transport” included representatives of intelligentsia almost all Soviet peoples, which were imprisoned in Solovki. Almost 300 “Ukrainian bourgeois nationalists” were among them: poet- neoclassic Mykola Zerov, founder of the Ukrainian theatre “Berezil” Les Kurbas, playwright Mykola Kulish, Anton, Ostap and Bogdan Krushelnitskys, writers Valaryan Pidmogylny, Pavlo Filipovich, Oleksa Vlizko, Valeryan Polishchuk, Grigoriy Epik, Myroslav Irchan, Marko Voroniy, Mykhaylo Kozoriz, Oleksa Slisarenko, Mykhaylo Yalovy, historians academic Matviy Yavorskiy, professor Sergiy Grushevskiy (a brother of Mykhaylo Grushevskiy), scientists Mykhaylo Pavlushkov, Vasyl Volkov, Petro Bovsunivskiy, Mykola Trokhimenko, founder of the Soviet hydrometeorological service Oleksiy Vangengeym (a Dutchman by origin), minister of finances of the UkrSSR Mykhaylo Poloz and others. They were people, who could create the priceless spirit values, possessing which we would rise to the level of other civilized peoples. Even mere presence of such people in a society makes it better. Yet, the shots of illiterate butcher Matveev, an executor of the orders of Russian communist power deeply inimical to us, changed the course of history…
Sandarmokh was found and identified on 1 July 1997 by the Karelia and Saint-Petersburg “Memorials”, namely, Yuri Dmitriev and Veniamin Ioffe. On 27 October 1997 the honor was paid to these murdered people for the first time. That time Larisa Krushelnitska, Ivan Drach, Mykola Litvin and priest Pavlo Bokhniak visited Sandarmokh. In two days artist Mykola Malyshko made a modest wooden cross with the words by Pluzhnik: “In memory of the murdered sons of Ukraine”. This cross was brought to Sandarmokh by Evhen Sverstiuk. Near this monument another crosses, Russian and Polish, as well as a Moslem memory sign, are already placed on a clearing, and about 150 Karelian crosses stand in the forest. A stone with the inscription “People, do not murder each other!” was mounted near the entrance to the memorial. This stone was transported to Sandarmokh from Solovki by the members of Saint-Petersburg “Memorial”.
From that time on 5 August of every year in Sandarmokh and on 7 August in Solovki the Days of memory of victims of political repressions are conducted. The descendants of the executed gather there, as well as representatives of many countries, consuls of Finland, Poland, Germany and Ukraine. In 2003 the bloc “Our Ukraine” organized the expedition of 50 persons, which visited Sandarmokh and Solovki; many young people and journalists took part in this expedition; six of these people were the descendants of the perished. I was there for five times and will go again.
This year a three-meter Cossack cross made of gray stone with the inscription “In memory of the murdered sons of Ukraine” will be erected in Sandarmokh, on the stone tumulus. Some famous faces will be seen on the cross. Authors: Nazar Bilyk and Mykola Malyshko. The monument has been ordered by the Society of Ukrainian culture “Kalina”, which is headed by Larisa Skripnikova. The address of the Society: 2 Lenina Square, Petrozavodsk, Karelia, Russian Federation, 185014. Phones: 8-10-7-814-2 – 75-75-45, 70-28-94, E-mail: [email protected].
The estimated cost of the monument, taking into account the cost of the stone, is 150 thousand hryvnas (almost 28000 USD). In spring the bloc “Our Ukraine” gave 10000 hryvnas. The work is going now and there is a hope that it would be completed till 5 August. Yet, there is no money to pay for this work.
That is why we are turning to the Ukrainian community, to all Ukrainian citizens, especially to the prosperous people in Ukraine and diasporas, to organizations, enterprises, establishments and collectives with the entreaty to make donations to the following accounts:
For the donations in hryvnas or Russian rubles:
For the donations in US dollars:
Account № 42301 840 8 2500 190021601
Karelian office № 8628 (branch 1125) of the Sberbank of the Russian Federation, Petrozavodsk/Russia
via the Sberbank of the Russian Federation, (SEVERO-ZAPADNY HEAD OFFICE), St.Petrozavodsk/Russia (SWIFT:SABRRU2P)
Small sums can be sent as usual money order to the above-mentioned address of the Society of “Kalina” with the obligatory mark «На памятник у Сандармосі» (“For the monument in Sandarmokh”).
You may turn to me for the additional information by phone: (044) 295-12-11, E-mail: [email protected].
And let us recollect, on 5 August, all innocent victims of the Great Terror, in particular, our compatriots, who perished in Sandarmokh.
Vasyl Ovsienko, former political prisoner, laureate of V. Stus premium.
Supported by Mykhaylo Goryn, Evhen Sverstiuk, Nadiya Svitlychna