Shot Generation: How Victims of Stalinist Terror Rehabilitated in Belarus | Belarus: a view from Europe – special project DW | DW
On the night of October 29-30, 1937, more than 100 representatives of the Belarusian intelligentsia and national elites, including 22 writers, were shot in Minsk. In the history of the country it is known as the night of the executed poets. Every year on this day, Belarusians remember the victims of Stalin’s repressions. Have all the victims been rehabilitated, who in Belarus has access to the KGB archives and have the names of the writers of the “shot generation” returned to Belarusian textbooks? Experts tell DW about this.
Not only writers, but also ministers
Despite the fact that the date of October 29, 1937 is known in Belarusian history as the night of the executed poets, out of more than killed only 22 people were associated with literature, others – state, party military, figures, the Belarusian historian and archivist Dmitry Drozd draws attention.
Dmitry Drozd in the archives of the SBU in Kiev
“These were representatives of the BSSR elite, including several people’s commissars (volume) and their deputies, and even the former head of the BSSR Cheka Viktorkin. Formally passed through the Military Collegium of the USSR Supreme Court,” says Drozd. At the same time, the historian notes, ordinary citizens were shot at the local “troika”. Analysis of more than 80 thousand data on those repressed during the years of Stalinist terror in the BSSR, that only 3% of them had higher education and 2% – secondary education, 51% were peasants, 19% were workers.
“Nothing can return the destroyed people and the ruined lives. However, the Bolsheviks did not set the task of returning at least what was possible. your property “, – lei historian.
The creativity of the shot generation is studied in the tenth grade
Most of the repressed in the BSSR can be rehabilitated, but not all. Those who, during the war, collaborated with the Germans in one way or another or were not subject to rehabilitation, as well as the creators of the “Great Terror” themselves, the NKVD workers, have not been rehabilitated.
“Those who, during the war, were connected with collaborationist circles, remained partially unrehabilitated,” says Anna Sevyarynets, a writer and researcher of Belarusian literature. public figure, in 1948 she was sentenced to 25 years in camps for treason to the “communist system”, although she was never a citizen of the USSR, was released in 1956. –Ed.) today has been partially rehabilitated, not in all respects.
Crosses in the Kurapaty tract on the outskirts of Minsk – in 1930-1940, according to various sources, from 30 to 250 thousand people were shot there
The process of rehabilitation of innocently convicted Belarusian writers, according to Anna Sevyarynets, mainly took place in the 1950s, after Stalin’s death. “Their relatives were still alive, often even their parents, brothers, wives and colleagues, and even those who were in positions, little by little, but methodically contributed to this procedure,” says the researcher.
As for the return of named literary men in modern textbooks of Belarusian literature, Sevyarynets notes that the speech about the shot generation is in the tenth grade. And this, according to DW’s interlocutor, is a good place in the curriculum: “Children already understand a lot, they can appreciate the significance of the poems and the drama of destinies, while the final exams are not yet hanging over them.” class, we have an excellent textbook, one of the best that I have ever seen: here the history and meaning of the “generation of the executed” are accurately, without unnecessary emotions, succinctly, thoroughly given.
There is practically no access to the KGB archives in Belarus
At the same time, much about the tragedy of the executed generation in Belarus remains unknown – researchers do not have access to the KGB archives. “Relatives have access, but very limited access. The problem is that there are not so many relatives left who wanted to go to the archives, ”says Anna Sevyarynets.
“In Belarus, the KGB archive works as a warehouse, which only stores the cases of the repressed and other cases of the NKVD,” not only among researchers, historians, but even among the descendants of the repressed. Lukashenka’s coming to power are now completely buried, ”Dmitry Drozd notes in his turn.
In this, according to him, Belarus lags far behind neighboring countries, not only from Ukraine and Lithuania, where the KGB archives are completely open, but also from Russia. “We are now undergoing a sluggish communist revenge, which affects everyone: access to the KGB archives, history textbooks, state ideology,” the historian believes.