MOSCOW Donskoe graveyard [C]* Burials & Cremations | Russia's Necropolis of Terror and the Gulag

MOSCOW Donskoe graveyard [C]* Burials & Cremations



Date of burial
Show Map
Moscow, 4 Ordjonikidze Street
Access in a populated area
Public transport
On foot
Visiting Hours or Restrictions
Visiting hours
Daily: 9 am to 7 pm, May-September; 9 am to 5 pm, October-April
Type of burial
Secret interment of executed
Current use
Burial ground and/or commemorative site
Cultural and/or educational purposes
Ceremonial events
Presence of memorials, etc.
Protected status
Фотография 2014 года. Источник: Архив НИЦ «Мемориал»
Фотография 2014 года. Источник: Архив НИЦ «Мемориал»

From 1935 until the early 1950s the bodies of those shot in Moscow prisons were cremated at the former Donskoe Monastery and, from time to time (mainly in 1937), some were interred there as well. The burials took place next to the crematorium. The cremated remains were buried in common pits and were referred to as “burials of uncollected ashes”. In the northern part of the graveyard there are three such burials: the first is dated “1932 to 1940 incl.”, the second “from 1943 to 1944 incl.” and the third “1945-1989”.

In August 1991 a granite plaque was placed on “Common Grave No. 1”. It reads, “Here lie the remains of the innocent tortured and executed victims of political repression, 1930-1942. May they never be forgotten!” In 1994 a pillar was placed on “Common Grave No. 3” with the inscription, “To those who fell victim of political repression, 1945-1952. May they never be forgotten!” Subsequently a great many collective and personal memorials, large and small, appeared in the graveyard. In the “Execution lists” of the Donskoe Monastery published by the Memorial Society in 1995 there are brief biographical notes on 5,068 people.

Books of Remembrance

A ten-volume Book of Remembrance has been published for the city of Moscow and its victims: one each for the Donskoe Monastery (2005), the Kommunarka “special site” (2000) and the Vagankovskoe Cemetery (1995); and seven volumes for the Butovo Firing Range (1997-2003). Together they provide biographical entries on 31,900 who were shot or sent to the camps; this total includes brief notes on 5,590 victims of political repression who have not been formally rehabilitated.

DateNature of ceremoniesOrganiser or responsible personParticipantsFrequency
30 October
Solemn ceremonies to mark Remembrance Day for the Victims of Political Repression
Public figures, relatives of the victims, officials
Annual event
Solemn ceremonies at the symbolic headstones
Official delegations, Russian and foreign, public organisations and private individuals
From time to time
Nature of area requiring preservation
State of burialsAreaBoundaries
Burials preserved
Memorial area
Administrative responsibility and ownership, informal responsibility for the site
Burial is on land under the control of the Donskoe district of Moscow's South Administrative Okrug
Sources and bibliography

[ original texts and hyperlinks ]

Lists of those shot in Moscow 1937-1952: The Donskoe cemetery [crematorium], A Book in Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repression (edited and compiled by Seleznyov, Yeremina, and Roginsky), Memorial: Moscow, 2005 (596 pp)

“Burials at the Donskoe Cemetery, listed by year”, website of the International Memorial Society [retrieved, 29 May 2022]

“Novoe Donskoe graveyard. Burials / cremations of the executed”, Virtual Museum of the Gulag [partially retrieved, 3 June 2022]