PETROZAVODSK [C]** Zaretskoe. Reburial of the executed | Russia's Necropolis of Terror and the Gulag

PETROZAVODSK [C]** Zaretskoe. Reburial of the executed



Date of burial
1937-1938 [1991]
Show Map
Republic of Karelia, Petrozavodsk, 1 Volkhovskaya Street
Access in a populated area
Public transport
On foot
Visiting Hours or Restrictions
Visiting hours
Access during graveyard opening hours
Type of burial
Secret interment of executed
Current use
Cultural and/or educational purposes
Ceremonial events
Presence of memorials, etc.
Protected status
Regional / Republican
Фотография 2012 года. Источник: Архив НИЦ «Мемориал»
Фотография 2012 года. Источник: Архив НИЦ «Мемориал»

In the early 1990s, others say 1989, human remains were discovered during excavations near the Sulazhgorsky brick works on the outskirts of Petrozavodsk. With the help of the Karelian Memorial Society, the pits were opened and the remains of between 200 and 700 people were uncovered (reports vary). It was established that those executed in Karelia by the NKVD during the Great Terror (1937-1938) on the orders of extrajudicial bodies were buried here.

Soon a similar burial was discovered near the Besovets settlement, not far from Petrozavodsk. There the remains of more than 200 people were found (the inscription on the memorial says 400). They were reburied in the Zaretskoe cemetery in Petrozavodsk which had been closed for further burial. The reburial took place on 30 October 1991. In February 1992 Memorial in Petrozavodsk created a commemorative site at the common grave with funds provided by the city administration. A slab of black granite stands at the centre of the memorial, bearing the words “Here the victims of political repression in 1937-1938 have found rest”. Three other stones carry the names of those shot during the night of 27 November 1937. To the left stands a pillar of grey granite and two blocks of stone transported from the White Sea Canal, with the remnants of metal attachments. Nearby are several personal memorials: granite plaques on the ground and enamel medallions on the trees.

In 1995 the memorial acquired the status of a regional site of cultural heritage. At the place where the remains were found in Sulazhgore the Bishop of Petrozavodsk and Karelia  with the official support of the Petrozavodsk city administration erected an 8-metre-high memorial cross.

Books of Remembrance

Commemorative Lists of Karelia, 1937-1938, compiled by Ivan Chukhin & Yury Dmitriev, 2002 (1,087 pp). Contains biographical entries for 14,038 individuals: the online Memorial database shows that 11,275 of them were shot and 1,958 sent to the camps, almost all during the Great Terror.

The lists refer to 3,794 shot “near Petrozavodsk”. This includes those buried and commemorated at Krasny Bor [10-14] as well as the reburied remains of those found at Sulazhgora and Besovets.

DateNature of ceremoniesOrganiser or responsible personParticipantsFrequency
30 October
Remembrance Day for the Victims of Political Repression
Annual event
Nature of area requiring preservation
State of burialsAreaBoundaries
The reburial is in good condition
Memorial area is 35 sq m
Administrative responsibility and ownership, informal responsibility for the site
On land under the control of the Petrozavodsk City Administration. Designated a monument of historical importance by decree No 654 (8 August 1995) of the head of the Karelian Republic government. [Unified Register, April 2020, 10-38160; UR 101410154390005, monument October 2023.]
Sources and bibliography

[ original texts and hyperlinks ]

Karelia’s sites of historical and cultural heritage (website) [retrieved on 26 May 2022]

“Zaretskoe graveyard. A mass grave for those shot in 1937–1938 “, Virtual Museum of the Gulag [retrieved on 26 May 2022]


Reply by the Petrozavodsk urban district administration (№ 11-31-83 of 6 May 2014) to a formal enquiry by RIC Memorial (St Petersburg)

Reply by the Karelian Republic Ministry of Culture (№ 1815/11-1-15 of 5 May 2014) to a formal enquiry by RIC Memorial (St Petersburg)