Victims of Soviet Terror: The Story of the Memorial Movement

By Nanci Adler | Go to book overview

Foreword

Candles and silence drove a stake into the heart of Soviet conformity during the early evening of October 30, 1989. Individual Soviet citizens encircled KGB headquarters at Dzerzhinsky (now Lubyanka) Square. They formed a human chain around the office building of repression and its 200-cell prison. Fear once impelled people to cross Moscow streets to avoid even the shadow cast by this dreaded citadel. But on the last day in October 1989, the International Day of Political Prisoners, perhaps two thousand men and women bravely surrounded the real center of the empire that made Soviet life evil. The All-Union Society Memorial inspired and organized the encirclement.

Images generated at Dzerzhinsky Square soon captured worldwide attention. Removal of the statue honoring secret police founder Felix Dzerzhinsky ( 1877-1926) became the iconographic device, the visual metaphor for the Soviet regime's collapse following the aborted putsch of August 1991. After decades of sameness, stagnation, change's rapid swirls are remembered as conflated. It seems an age between the shocking demonstration of October 1989 and the three days that shook the world of August 1991. To Muscovites it feels like two ages between the initial, semi-clandestine meetings of the group that would become Memorial in August 1987 and the free, democratic Russia that emerged after the death of the Soviet Union's last great Stalinist, Lazar Moiseyevich Kaganovich ( 1893-1991), when the reactionary coup of his heirs failed. 1

Never mind that in the frantic rush of events, such as October 30, 1990, when thousands took to the streets around Lubyanka, Memorial buried

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Victims of Soviet Terror: The Story of the Memorial Movement
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Notes xv
  • Preface xvii
  • Acknowledgments xix
  • Introduction 1
  • PART I - MEMORIAL: HISTORY AS MORAL IMPERATIVE 7
  • CHAPTER 1 - The Formation of the Soviet System 9
  • CHAPTER 2 - Stalinism: Inheritance and Legacy 31
  • CHAPTER 3 - The Rediscovery of Soviet History 41
  • PART II - THE EMERGENCE AND EVOLUTION OF MEMORIAL 49
  • CHAPTER 4 - 1987-1988: Gaining Support 51
  • CHAPTER 5 - 1988-1989: Toward the Founding Conference 69
  • CHAPTER 6 - 1989-1990: Memorial Branches Out 83
  • PART III - MEMORIAL ACTUALIZES ITSELF, HISTORY AS DISSIDENCE 103
  • CHAPTER 7 - Memorial in Action 105
  • CHAPTER 8 - The Politics of Memorial 123
  • Epilogue - "Today We Are Historians of Dissidence, and Not Dissidents" 133
  • Notes 138
  • Appendix A 139
  • Appendix B 141
  • Selected Bibliography 151
  • Index 153
  • About the Author 157
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