Victims of Soviet Terror: The Story of the Memorial Movement

By Nanci Adler | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5
1988-1989: Toward the Founding Conference

In a December 1988 article in Nedelya, Suzanna Alperina, a Moscow University student, contended that Memorial's Organizational Committee workspace was too small to do an adequate job and that this limitation might be worse than nothing. The insufficient space allotted Memorial at Chernyakovsky 2 sent a clear message to the country. Alperina used a Russian expression to describe how in the stuffy room, always packed with visitors, there was "not even space for an apple." She added that by November 24, 1988, there were already 1,640 names of callers and visitors in the log and new documents as well as donations poured in daily. The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, edited by Nikolai Bukharin, was one of many donations. So there remained little choice but to keep a great many of the archives in people's homes. Such circumstances led an elderly visitor to remark, "I probably will not see this memorial. And if such an attitude toward the organizational committee of Memorial is maintained, then, I am afraid that even my grandchild will not see it."1

Though Memorial was not receiving the official recognition it deserved, it was gaining widespread popularity in unofficial circles. On December 6, 1988, the founding meeting of the Ukrainian Memorial took place in the Kiev Movie House. It was described as a society for the preservation of the memory of victims of Stalinism and the liquidation of the consequences of Stalinshchina ( Stalin's reign of terror). Les Tanyuk, who was named chairman, is a theater director and has been a participant in the Ukrainian democratic movement since the 1960s. He was exiled from Ukraine for two decades. Tanyuk had hoped to turn the "Kiev Youth

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