Pudozh [C]* Execution & burial site | Russia's Necropolis of Terror and the Gulag

Pudozh [C]* Execution & burial site



Date of burial
1937-early 1940s
Show Map
Republic of Karelia, Pudozhsky district, Pudozh (outskirts)
Access outside a populated area
Private or specialised transport
On foot
Visiting Hours or Restrictions
Type of burial
Secret interment of executed
Current use
Ceremonial events
Presence of memorials, etc.
Protected status
Regional / Republican
Источник: Памятники жертвам политических репрессий на территории бывшего СССР. – http://www.sakharov-center.ru/projects/bases/monuments/
Источник: Памятники жертвам политических репрессий на территории бывшего СССР. – http://www.sakharov-center.ru/projects/bases/monuments/

The burials of the executed were discovered as a result of exploratory work in the pine forests around the town of Pudozh in May 1989. The location of the killing field (Chernaya rechka) was determined from the tales of local inhabitants who in the late 1930s found the hats of those shot in the forest. Over an area of roughly 3 hectares no less than seven burial pits were discovered. When one was excavated 25 skulls with bullet holes, fragments of skeletons and personal belongings were found.

The investigation conducted by the Karelian Republic Prosecutor’s Office concluded that “in the late 1930s and early 1940s NKVD officers systematically executed individuals at Chernaya rechka who were arrested for crimes committed under Article 58 (1926 Criminal Code). The majority of those shot were inhabitants of the Pudozh district, individuals of Finnish nationality and condemned prisoners from Belbaltlag.” The first group of 12 prisoners from Pudozh Prison were shot on 5 August 1937 in accordance with NKVD order No. 00447 (30 July 1937) which marks the beginning of the Great Terror in Karelia. Local historian Ye.G. Nilov who led the exploratory work believes that no less than 350 people were shot at that location. Executions took place elsewhere at sites that have not yet been discovered. Execution lists for the Pudozh district based on information from the Karelian KGB archives were published in part in the Pudozh Vestnik newspaper. Later they were included in full in The Commemorative Lists of Karelia (2002).

On 14 October 1989 the exhumed remains were reburied where they were found. A post bearing an inscription was placed nearby (“Victims of NKVD-KGB repression in 1937-1938 lie buried here”) with two stones indicating the common graves. That day a granite pillar was placed among the grave mounds, the first memorial to the victims of political repression in Karelia: “In memory of the victims of repression in the Pudozh district in the 1930s and 1940s”.

In 1998, the Karelian government declared the memorial area a site of cultural heritage (of regional significance). The Pudozh district museum conducts tours which include a visit to the memorial.

Books of Remembrance

The Commemorative Lists of Karelia, 1937-1938, compiled by Ivan Chukhin & Yury Dmitriev, 2002 (1,087 pp), contain 13,400 biographical entries. The online Memorial database shows that 11,275 were shot and 1,958 sent to the camps in Karelia, almost all during the Great Terror.

The version of the lists at the Russian National Library (“Their Names Restored”) contains entries for 376 shot at and around Pudozh.

DateNature of ceremoniesOrganiser or responsible personParticipantsFrequency
30 October
Remembrance Day for the Victims of Political Repression
Pudozh municipal district
Annual event
Nature of area requiring preservation
State of burialsAreaBoundaries
Topsoil subsidence over burials, no less than 7 burial mounds
About 3 hectares
Not delineated
Administrative responsibility and ownership, informal responsibility for the site
On land under the control of the Pudozhsky urban district administration. By Karelian government decree No. 333 (25 August 1998) the memorial area was declared a site of cultural heritage of regional significance. The territory is cared for by representatives of youth organisations. [United Register, 101610559720005, October 2023, monument.]
Sources and bibliography

[ original texts and hyperlinks ]

“Memory”, Pudozhsky uezd, 24 October 2013

“Pudozh. Execution and burial site”, Virtual Museum of the Gulag [retrieved on 26 May 2022]


Reply by the Pudozh municipal district administration, № 2088 of 29 April 2014, to a formal enquiry by RIC Memorial (St Petersburg)

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