Smolenka village [C]* Burials of the executed | Russia's Necropolis of Terror and the Gulag

Smolenka village [C]* Burials of the executed



Date of burial
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Zabaikal Krai, Chitinsky district, Smolenka village
Access outside a populated area
Private or specialised transport
On foot
Accessible by bus and private vehicles. 5 kms east of Smolenka village
Visiting Hours or Restrictions
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 2013 года. Источник:
Фотография 2013 года. Источник:

Inhabitants of the Chita Region condemned to death and shot during the Great Terror were buried in pine forest five kilometres from the village. The exact number then executed is unknown. Researchers estimate that about 8,000 people were executed at the time.

The burials were discovered in 1991 by the Chita Region KGB together with members of the public “Committee of Commemoration”. More than fifty common graves were identified and the remains of 51 people were exhumed from one of the burial pits and submitted to forensic examination. In 1992 a memorial was erected over the reburied remains, a cross of black stone and three intersecting white hemispheres with an inscription, “To the Victims of Political Repression”. Relatives and family of the executed placed dozens of personal memorials in the area.

In 2006 the cross was broken by unidentified vandals. In 2008 the memorial suffered in a forest fire. That year dozens of Chita inhabitants took part in its restoration. In September 2008 Bishop Yevstafy of Chita and the Zabakail Region consecrated a commemorative cross on the turn off the highway towards Smolenka.


In an address (2017) to inhabitants of the region on 9 August, the date when the site and the remains of 2,500 executed victims were discovered, the governor and head of the legislative assembly referred to the Great Terror as the peak of repression and to the eight volumes of the Book of Remembrance. On 9 August 2023, gatherings were held in both Chita and at Smolenka.

Books of Remembrance

A Book in Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repression in the eastern Transbaikal Region (8 vols. 2000-2011) includes 36,000 biographical entries for those shot or sent to the camps.

The first volume also includes 8,370 entries for families and individuals unlawfully deported from the region during the Soviet period.

DateNature of ceremoniesOrganiser or responsible personParticipantsFrequency
30 Oct.
Remembrance Day for the Victims of Political Repression (service for the dead)
Chita mayor's office
Relatives of the victims, administration officials, religious organisations, NGOs, schoolchildren
Annual event
9 Aug.
Regional Day in Memory of the Victims of Political Repression
Chita mayor's office
Annual event
Nature of area requiring preservation
State of burialsAreaBoundaries
have not survived
not determined
not delineated
Administrative responsibility and ownership, informal responsibility for the site
On land under the control of the Smolenskoe rural settlement administration, Chitinsky district. The area in which the burials lie has the status of a specially protected territory and the memorial complex is a newly discovered site of cultural heritage. It is not on the books of any municipal body. Public associations, political parties and volunteers work to maintain and landscape the site at their own expense.
Sources and bibliography

[ original texts and hyperlinks ]

“The memorial to the victims of political repression in Chita has been desecrated”, Taiga info, 3 May 2006 [retrieved, 29 May 2022]

The memorial to the victims of political repression in Chita (LiveJournal website, 27 July 2013) [retrieved, 29 May 2022]


Reply by the Zabaikal Region department of culture (№ 02-06-25/1461 of 28 April 2014) to a formal enquiry from RIC Memorial (St Petersburg)