Victims of Soviet Terror: The Story of the Memorial Movement

By Nanci Adler | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
Memorial in Action

Every organization, like every individual, may be described from both a diachronic and a synchronic perspective. Developmental history overlaps with, but is also separate from, the current events that are daily negotiated. The historical circumstances of Memorial's development were Stalinism and the liberal reaction to it. As such the role Memorial played in the Soviet system was that of the unwelcome but unavoidable messenger of bad news. But the chronicle of how Memorial got here is not the same as the daily diary of how it works now. For this we will read its news publications, sit in its reception room in Moscow, and interview both the client survivors who come to talk and the member survivors who stay to listen, record and disseminate the accumulating data.

To begin with Memorial's public activities, it organizes meetings, conferences and seminars. In addition, Memorial reaches its audience through newspapers and journals, published by local divisions. One example is Vedomosti Memoriala, the All-Union Society's Founding Conference newspaper, which opened with Anna Akhmatova's "Requiem." Since the Founding Conference, similar chronicles have been regularly published by local Memorials in Moscow, Tomsk, Tambov, Leningrad, Arkhangelsk, Kuzbass and other places throughout the Soviet Union. Some are in the form of newsletters, others contain memoirs, platforms of Memorial members campaigning for People's Deputies, open letters to People's Deputies, key speeches from Memorial meetings, articles on historical themes, editorials on current events in the Soviet Union and other national and international topics relevant to Memorial. 1

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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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