Victims of Soviet Terror: The Story of the Memorial Movement

By Nanci Adler | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
1989-1990: Memorial Branches Out

In the aftermath of the Founding Conference, Memorial started to expand in many directions, gaining support as well as encountering opposition. In either event it was gaining recognition from both its own activities and from press coverage. Newspapers like Komsomolskaya Pravda were printing readers' letters inquiring about Memorial. On March 5, 1989, Memorial held a public "meeting" in Moscow devoted to the "consecutive de-Stalinization of society." The resolutions, bearing close resemblance to a political platform, were clearly a campaign effort for the approaching March 26 elections. The opening lines are familiar Memorial sentiments:

We express the hope that the bureaucracy does not manage to extinguish the vivid spirit of our movement, to silence or misrepresent its humanistic nature and goals. Memorial will exist as an exposure of Stalinism, as a pang of conscience to the people, as a summons to vigilance against new crimes. 1

The demands that followed contain much stronger language and were made with reference to "victims of Stalinism and Brezhnevism." The first demand was that the crimes of Stalinism be recognized as "crimes against humanity" and genocide; against all that is "progressive, active and moral in a people"; and should be dealt with as such, according to the International Convention of 1968. 2 Furthermore, Memorial complained here that the punitive apparatus, instead of being curbed, was being increased. It cited events in Vilnius and Minsk, the arrest of members of the Karabakh Committee and other such repressions. Additionally, it called for the draft of the law on State Security to be presented for public discussion and

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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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