ST PETERSBURG "Levashovo" [C]** Burials of the executed | Russia's Necropolis of Terror and the Gulag

ST PETERSBURG "Levashovo" [C]** Burials of the executed



Date of burial
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St Petersburg, 143 Gorskoe Highway
Access in a populated area
Public transport
Private or specialised transport
Visiting Hours or Restrictions
Visiting hours
Accessible during cemetery opening hours
Type of burial
Secret interment of executed
Current use
Cultural and/or educational purposes
Ceremonial events
Presence of memorials, etc.
Protected status
Regional / Republican
План участков Парголовского лесхоза, отведенных Комендатуре УНКВД ЛО для «специального назначения». Ленинград. 1938. Источник: Архив УФСБ по Санкт-Петербургу и Ленинградской области
План участков Парголовского лесхоза, отведенных Комендатуре УНКВД ЛО для «специального назначения». Ленинград. 1938. Источник: Архив УФСБ по Санкт-Петербургу и Ленинградской области

From September 1937 to 1954, the area next to the Levashovo rail station (now within St Petersburg city limits) was used for the burial of those who died or were shot in the prisons of Leningrad. In 1937 the territory was fenced off and carefully guarded. It remained under the control of the Leningrad Region KGB until 1990.

The burials were found in spring 1989 by the search group of the Leningrad Memorial society led by V.T. Muravsky. On 18 July 1989 a decree of the Leningrad city soviet executive committee declared that the Levashovo Wasteland would be a memorial cemetery to the victims of political repression and undertook to clear and tidy the site. In 1989 and 1990 the Surveying and Engineering Trust (GRII) and a group from the geological research institute (VNIGRI) carried out an investigation of the area but the results were not published.

Subsidence in the soil over the burial pits and trenches, which has still not been levelled, indicate the location of the burials. Evidence from the archive of the St Petersburg and Leningrad Region FSB suggests that 19,540 people were buried here, including about 8,000 during the Great Terror. For the most part the names of the victims are unknown. Lists of citizens shot in Leningrad after conviction by extra-judicial bodies (troika, etc) were published between 1990 and 1998 in the Vecherny Peterburg newspaper and in the many volumes of the Leningrad Martyrology (1995 onwards) Books of Remembrance.

Relatives and family of those who were shot during the years of terror began to tidy and care for the burial area in spring 1989 and they continue this work to the present. As of 2017 more than 1,300 personal memorials and gravestones had been placed there, all of which have a symbolic location. One of the first collective monuments was added by Memorial in July 1989. More than 20 memorials have been installed by various public organisations and national societies. In June 1993 a belltower was erected due to the efforts of the St Petersburg Association for the Victims of Unjust Repression. In 1996 the mayor of St Petersburg instructed that the monument of “the Moloch of Totalitarianism” be installed opposite the entrance to the cemetery.

Books of Remembrance

The Leningrad Martyrology, 1937-1938: A Book in Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repression (11 vols. 1995-2011) includes biographical entries on 37,500 who were shot or sent to the camps.

DateNature of ceremoniesOrganiser or responsible personParticipantsFrequency
25 January
Feast of Russia’s New Martyrs and Confessors
Russian Orthodox Church (the Metropolitan of St Petersburg)
Annual event
Solemn ceremonies in Remembrance of Victims of Political Repression
district councils within the city, St Petersburg Memorial Society
Annual event
30 October
Remembrance Day for the Victims of Political Repression
St Petersburg Memorial Society and other NGOs
NGOs, city officials, diplomats, foreign delegations, ethno-confessional groups, relatives & descendants of the victims
Annual event
Commemorative Services
From time to time
Nature of area requiring preservation
State of burialsAreaBoundaries
subsidence over burial pits and trenches; many grave-markers have survived in varied condition of preservation
11.5 hectares, of whiich the burials occupy 6.5 hectares
territory is surrounded by a wooden ́́fence
Administrative responsibility and ownership, informal responsibility for the site
On land under the control of the St Petersburg City Administration. Designated a regional site of cultural heritage (No 10-605, 22 December 2015) by the city’s committee for the oversight, use and protection of monuments. [Unified Register, Oct 2023, lists as a "place of interest", 781630570100005.]
Sources and bibliography

[ original texts and hyperlinks ]

Memorial Research & Information Centre archive (St Petersburg)

“The Levashovo memorial cemetery, pages from history”, Their Names Restored website

St Petersburg Administration website (text of Order 10-605, 22 December 2015)

“The Levashovo memorial cemetery”, Virtual Museum of the Gulag [retrieved, 7 June 2022]