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  2. Moscow film school held volunteer clean-up in memory of victims of repression in Sandarmokh

Moscow film school held volunteer clean-up in memory of victims of repression in Sandarmokh

Sergey Markelov

Students of Moscow film school held volunteer clean-up in the Sandarmokh forest massif and attached 16 new plates with the names of the repressed to the pillars with ornament rafter ends. The action in memory of the victims of the political terror of the 1930s who were shot in Sandarmokh took place on August 19. This was reported by the correspondent of "7x7" from Sandarmokh.

Students of the film school read the biographies of the victims on each plate. Most of them were prisoners, ordinary people with primary education, peasants, monks, who were staged from the Solovki special prison and shot by captain Mikhail Matveev. When asked what these names mean to them, the students answered: "This is our history."

— It is very important, this is memory, my relatives were shot. Everyone is affected to some extent, even if their relatives weren’t hurt, — one of the students of the film school told the correspondent of "7x7", — As I’m walking, I see signs — I pity those people, of course.

Students of the film school came to Sandarmokh during the excavations of the Russian Military Historical Society — search party is looking for Red Army soldiers shot by Finns in the forest massif for a week already. Within a few days of the expedition, they recovered16 remains, found casings and personal belongings: mugs, cups, coins, buttons, glass fragments, folding knives, soles, a handle from the bag, and other items.

— The local administration probably wants to strike out these pages of history somehow because it gives some kind of negative coloring to all events. We must calmly accept what has happened. It is not good to rewrite history, although it is still rewritten, — says teacher of Moscow film school Andrei Skripsky.


Excavations in the forest massif resumed under the request of the Karelian Ministry of Culture. In 2019, during the expedition, the RMHS search parties found the remains of five bodies. Experts of the Investigative Committee did not idicate the ownership of the remains. Minister of Culture of Karelia Alexei Lesonen confirmed that the remains would be buried, but did not say when. He added that they would not be buried as Red Army soldiers.

— I can't give exact dates, — said Lesonen. — Of course, not as Red Army soldiers, for there is no proof.

After the beginning of excavations, a letter to the head of the RMHS, signed by acting Minister of Culture of Karelia Sergey Soloviev, was published in social networks. The author of the letter asks to confirm the theory of burials of Soviet prisoners of war and believes that the version about mass executions and burials of Soviet citizens by the security forces of the USSR "damages the international image of Russia." The authenticity of the letter has not yet been confirmed in the Ministry of Culture.

The theory about the prisoners of the Finnish concentration camps buried in Sandarmokh was put forward in 2017–2018 by employee of Petrozavodsk State University Sergey Verigin. The scientific community questioned this version, as there are no official historical documents that would confirm the mass execution of the Soviet prisoners of war by employees of the Finnish concentration camps. Despite this, the first expedition of the PMHS took place in August last year.

The place of mass graves of victims of political repression Sandarmokh was found in 1997 by employees of St. Petersburg and Karelian departments of "Memorial". There are the remains of several thousand repressed Soviet citizens, most of them are identified. One of the discoverers of the graves was Karelian historian Yuri Dmitriev. He is currently a defendant in a criminal case of sexual violence and is in detention. "Memorial" believes that the criminal case against Dmitriev is fabricated to interfere with his work.


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