Victims of Soviet Terror: The Story of the Memorial Movement

By Nanci Adler | Go to book overview

Preface

In what surely ranks as one of the most colossal blunders of contemporary journalism, the International Herald Tribune of December 27, 1991, identified Andrei Sakharov and Arseny Roginsky as leaders of "the hard line, backward-looking society called Pamyat." Not until January 7, 1992, in a little-noticed "correction" did the paper endeavor to set things straight, albeit imperfectly. The fact is that Sakharov and Roginsky were spiritual and intellectual leaders of "Memorial, a progressive group active in Russia," the very nemesis of "the reactionary group Pamyat." If it is that easy for one of the world's premier newspapers to confuse the monstrously racist group Pamyat with the human rights organization Memorial, the world cannot be blamed for its ignorance about the struggle against state terrorism in the former Soviet Union that the All-Union Society Memorial has been waging. To inform the world of Memorial's struggle for justice and reconstruction, I have written this book.

Memorial was born of the tears of those who suffered the terror of Soviet labor camps, prisons, and asylums under Stalin and his only slightly less blood-thirsty successors. Memorial (the word means the same in Russian and English) began modestly as a citizens' initiative in 1987. Initially it was little more than a campaign to collect signatures and funds for the erection of a monument honoring the victims of Soviet state terror. Memorial accomplished that in 1990. The vacant pedestal on which once stood the statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky, founder of the infamous KGB, still faces KGB headquarters. Beside it has been erected the long-embattled Memorial monument, facing the world. But Memorial has accomplished

-xvii-

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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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