Krasny Bor memorial. Execution and burial site [C] | Russia's Necropolis of Terror and the Gulag

Krasny Bor memorial. Execution and burial site [C]

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№10-14

Date of burial
1937-1938 [1998]
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Address
Republic of Karelia, Prionezhsky district, Derevyannoe village (outskirts)
Access outside a populated area
Private or specialised transport
On foot
Comments
19 kms along the Petrozavodsk-Voznesenye Highway
Visiting Hours or Restrictions
Unrestricted
Type of burial
Secret interment of executed
Reburial
Current use
Cultural and/or educational purposes
Ceremonial events
Presence of memorials, etc.
Yes
Protected status
Regional / Republican
Фотография 2012 года. Источник: Архив НИЦ «Мемориал»
Фотография 2012 года. Источник: Архив НИЦ «Мемориал»
Background

One location of mass execution during the Great Terror in Karelia was discovered by local inhabitants in 1997 in a wooded area four kms from Derevyannoe village (Prionezhsky district). In summer 1998 and 1999 Yury Dmitriev, a historian of political terror in Karelia, investigated the site. He discovered about 40 burials and revealed the presence of human remains in the ground. The Prionezhsky prosecutor’s office examined the evidence and confirmed that the NKVD had carried out mass executions there.

According to the prosecutor’s office the shootings took place during two periods: from 9 August to 15 October 1937, and from 26 September to 11 October 1938. The majority of the victims were under 40 years in age, and of various occupations, religious faiths and nationality. Most were sentenced to death for crimes committed under Article 58 (Counter-Revolutionary Activities). Yury Dmitriev determined the numbers executed (1,193 individuals) and most of their names. He was aided in the search for such detail by Ivan Chukhin who had created a database of those shot in 1937-1938. By nationality the most numerous of the victims at Krasny Bor were Finns and Karelians. In 2000 a list of those shot there was published in the Petrozavodsk newspaper, Severny kuryer.

The memorial cemetery was opened on 31 October 1998. The Prionezhsky district administration cleared and tided the territory and provided funds for memorials on the central square. The cemetery is 2.9 hectares in area and officially there are 50 individual burials there. Within the cemetery there are several memorial areas and individual memorials on the grave mounds, wooden crosses, modelled on the style of the northern golubets, to which relatives of the victims have attached their own commemorative signs.

Those exhumed in 1997 were reburied on 30 October 1998 in a common grave by the entrance to the cemetery. Two granite stones stand over the grave with the inscriptions, “To the victims of political repression” and “Here lie the remains of the slain innocents”. On 30 October 2006 Yury Dmitriev organised the inauguration of a memorial “to the victims of Red Terror”; on 17 October 2009 the commemorative cross erected by the Karelian Society of Cossacks was consecrated; and on 30 October 2010 a memorial cross was erected by the Sixth Congress of Karelians.

*

There is also a monument here to the fallen of the Great Patriotic War. It was installed before the burial pits of the executed were discovered. In 1941 the frontline in the war against the Finns passed through the clearing. It was then defended by combined police and NKVD units and their remains are also buried here. When the memorial cemetery was established, the organisers decided to leave the war memorial where it was.

Books of Remembrance

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

The lists refer to  3,794 shot “near Petrozavodsk”. As well as Krasny Bor this includes the remains of those found at Sulazhgora and Besovets and reburied in the Zaretskoe graveyard [10-01].

Ceremonies
DateNature of ceremoniesOrganiser or responsible personParticipantsFrequency
30 October
Day in Commemoration of the Victims of Political Repression
Derevyanoe village administration
Relatives of the victims, representatives of unofficial organisations, clergy and parishioners
Annual event
Nature of area requiring preservation
State of burialsAreaBoundariesOther sites in same area
Subsidence over burials (more than 40 pits)
2.9 hectares (other sources say 6 h.)
Partially delineated
Memorial to fallen of Great Patriotic War
Administrative responsibility and ownership, informal responsibility for the site
On land under the control of the Prionezhsky district administration. Designated a site of cultural heritage (order No 273, 25 November 2004, of the Karelian Republic’s Ministry of Culture and included in the Unified Register of Sites of Cultural Heritage (monuments of historical and cultural significance) by order No. 362 r-P, 8 October 2007, of the Karelian government. The memorial is cared for by the administration of the Derevyannoe rural district and the Prionezhsky district administration.
Sources and bibliography

[ original texts and hyperlinks ]

“The Krasny Bor memorial”, Virtual Museum of the Gulag

Yury Dmitriev (ed), A forest red with blood: a list of those shot in Krasny Bor, Petrozavodsk, 2000

Reply by the Karelian Republic FSB (1 July 2004) to an enquiry by RIC Memorial (St Petersburg)

Materials of an RIC Memorial expedition to Karelia (2009-2012) – archive of the Memorial Research and Information Centre (St Petersburg)

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

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