“The Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repressions. We remember those killed by the Soviet authorities. We are fighting for the return of Kremlin prisoners home. We will do everything to ensure that persecution and political violence disappear from our future. The memory of the lessons of past makes us human," he noted.
Today on May 19, Ukraine marks the Day of Remembrance of Victims of Political Repressions.
This day was set according to the President’s decree in 2007 and since then it is marked every third Sunday of May.
The main idea of the day is a relevant honoring of the remembrance of political repressions victims. This day is marked to attract attention of the community to the tragic events in Ukraine’s history, caused by the violent imposing of communist ideology, the revival of national remembrance, affirmation of antipathy toward any expressions of violence against humanity and due to the 70th anniversary of the Great Purge – mass political repressions of 1937-1938.
It should be noted that the exact number of victims of the totalitarian regime is hard to define. Some experts consider that from the beginning of the 1920s to the end of 1980s, the period of communist regime rule in Ukraine, almost 1,5 million people were arrested in Ukraine. Many of them were executed by shooting, others were imprisoned, exiled, sent to tortures, camps, were kept in mental hospitals. Terror and repressions affected all the categories of the population – scientists, politicians, military servicemen, priests, culture representatives, peasants.
Over decades the Soviet authorities were hiding the traces of its crimes – KGB (Committee for State Security un USSR) set restricted access facilities on grave sites, concreted ground, razed locations by bulldozers and planted tress there.
Bykivnia graves is the largest burial site for victims of Stalin’s regime in Ukraine. The number of buried here has not been determined yet, it might be from 20,000 to 100,000 people.
Traditionally, memorial events dedicated to this day are being conducted in Ukraine and abroad, yet the main events are to be held in Kyiv, the capital of the country.