From 1931 to 1939, those condemned to death by judicial and extra-judicial bodies were shot in Khabarovsk, capital of the Far Eastern Krai (which then included the Amur, Primorsky, Magadan and Sakhalin Regions).
The exact numbers executed are unknown. Researchers believe there were from 9,000 to 11,000 victims. Their bodies were buried on the outskirts of the city: according to the KGB regional department they were laid in six trenches. At the beginning of the Great Terror in August 1937 local NKVD and Party officials in the Far Eastern Krai were given a quota for the execution of 2,000 “former kulaks”, “anti-social elements” and members of “anti-Soviet parties”. Subsequently there were operations during the Great Terror against Germans, Poles, “traitors” families, Koreans and Latvians. In January 1938, an increase of 8,000 in the quota for former kulaks was given Moscow’s approval. In 1944 the central city cemetery was created in the same area, and the remains of those buried in the trenches were dug up and reburied.
In 1989, the Khabarovsk regional department of the KGB carried out a preliminary excavation and located one trench filled to a depth of four metres with the remains of the executed. On 1 October a memorial was opened next to the burial area, a boulder with a plaque on its foundation with the words: “As you enter remember the innocent victims shot during the years of Stalinist lawlessness. If you are a believer, offer a prayer. May the souls of the slain innocents find rest. Here and in other parts of the cemetery lie thousands of martyrs. We remember you and your names have been restored to history”. On 20 October 1990, a memorial chapel dedicated to the Resurrection was opened and consecrated next to the main entry to the churchyard. “May the memory of the slain innocent live forever” is inscribed over the entrance into the chapel. On its south wall there is a plaque which reads “This memorial chapel was built through popular donation on the initiative of the Khabarovsk Memorial Society, in memory of the innocent victims of lawlessness and tyranny”.
On 16 July 1991 a Wall of Remembrance bearing the names of those shot was added to the memorial complex. An act of vandalism took place on 21 October 1998 when the chapel was drenched with petrol and set on fire. A similar incident occurred in October 2002. In 2003, when the memorial complex was being reconstructed, the Khabarovsk City Administration funded the replacement of the Wall of Remembrance with eight cross-shaped pillars of black marble, bearing carved names of 4,302 executed residents of the city.
Between 1998 and 2002 five sizeable volumes were published, containing 26,000 entries for those who were convicted of “political” crimes in the Khabarovsk Krai during the Soviet period. Collectively, these Books of Remembrance are entitled “I Would Like to Recall Them All by Name”: A Martyrology in Five Volumes. (The quotation comes from Anna Akhmatova’s Requiem.)
Since these volumes specify the place of execution, a few of the thousands shot and buried on this site may be named.
|Nature of ceremonies
|Organiser or responsible person
Remembrance Day for the Victims of Political Repression
Khabarovsk Memorial Society
Relatives of the victims, Memorial Society, representatives of city and regional administrations, regional and city dumas, leaders of the city's NGOs and foundations
|State of burials
have not survived
I. Polinkova (Memorial), “They put no crosses on common graves”, Molodoi dalnevostochnik (Khabarovsk), 12 August 1989
O. Kolesnikov (Memorial), “To remember them all”, Tikhookeanskaya zvezda (Khabarovsk), 30 October 2013
“The secret of the third Khabarovsk”, Khabarovsky express, 29 April 2009
Official note from Khabarovsk Memorial concerning repair and restoration work on the Memorial Chapel at the city cemetery, 5 December 2011
Reply from the Khabarovsk City Administration (№ 1.1.35-2217 of 8 May 2014) ) to a formal enquiry by RIC Memorial (St Petersburg)
Reply from the Khabarovsk Krai Administration (№ 9.3.36-10333 of 12 May 2014) to a formal enquiry by RIC Memorial (St Petersburg)