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A special invitation from Perm “Memorial”

21.06.2006

Dear Friends and Colleagues, Former Prisoners of the Perm Political Labour Camps, Historians studying the Stalin and Brezhnev-Andropov periods of political repression in the USSR.,

We would like to invite you to visit the “Perm-36” Memorial Museum (village of Kuchino, Chusovsk district, the Perm region) where in July and August we will be holding our traditional international youth volunteer camps.

The main purpose is to meet with young people. Your accounts of the not so distant past, your talking with young people taking part in the creation of a unique museum is enormously valuable for the younger generation.

If you decide to come, please contact us.

We will need to arrange your trip to coincide with the “shifts” of the volunteers: the first shift will be from 13-21 July, the second – 21 – 29 July and the third – 29 July – 6 August.

[Perm “Memorial” is able to pay the expenses of those holdings seminars and meetings with the young volunteers].

As well as work we can guarantee an interesting and worthwhile holiday, a Russian banya [sauna] and good swimming in the river Chusovaya.

We look forward to seeing you here!

Our details:  614060, Perm, Krupskaya Street, 40, “Memorial”

Tel / Fax: 342-2483596, 2483598   Email: [email protected] yandex.ru   [email protected]

Head of the regional section of the International Society “Memorial”, A.M. Kapikh

(Translator’s note)

There would be a terrible injustice in singling out certain victims, especially on the grounds of nationality. The Perm “Museum” and all the activities of the International Society “Memorial” honour the memory of all victims of a vicious regime which could not tolerate freedom.

However, in this year which marks the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group (UHG) it would be hard not to mention three Ukrainians, all members of the UHG, who died in the Perm Camps: Vasyl Stus, Oleksa Tykhy and Yury Lytvyn.

All three knew the risks they faced, and the likelihood that they would never return from the camps.

On 19 November 1980 Vasyl Stus, Oleksa Tykhy and Yury Lytvyn were reburied in the Baikove Cemetery in Kyiv in a ceremony attended by several thousand people

Background:

There were three Perm political labour camps in the Chusovsk area of the Perm region (VS-389/35 (“Perm-35”), VS-389/36 (“Perm-36”) and VS-389/37 (“Perm-37”).

The camps were designated for those declared “particularly dangerous State criminals”, that is, those sentenced under Articles 54 – 62 of the Criminal Code of the Ukrainian SSR (Articles 64-72 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR, and their equivalents). The camps VS-389/35 (“Perm-35”) and VS-389/36 (“Perm-36”) began functioning as political zones in 1972 when the first contingent of prisoners was transferred there from the Mordovian political labour camps, while VS-389/37 (“Perm-37”) was used from 1976. В 1980 a «special regime» unit was created to which political prisoners from Mordovia were transferred.

Approximately one thousand prisoners were held in the Perm political labour camps. Information about their situation, and about their struggle for their rights, was regularly published in ’Khronika tekushchykh sobytiy’ [’Chronicle of Current Events’]  and  “Vesti iz SSSR” [“News from the USSR”]. 

The Camps “Perm-36” and “Perm-37” were closed in December 1987 with the remaining prisoners being moved to “Perm-35”, from where the last political prisoners were released in 1991. 

At the present time, on the site of former labour camp VS-389/36 a Museum on the History of Political Repression and Totalitarianism (one of the founders of which was Perm “Memorial”.

More information about the camps is available (in Russian and in English) at: http://gulagmuseum.ru/

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