Opposition activists stage commemorative procession to Stalin-era massacre site

 

Some 100 people, mostly opposition activists, took part in a commemorative procession staged in Minsk on Sunday to honor the memory of the victims of the Stalinist terror on the occasion of Dzyady (Remembrance of Ancestors Day).

The march, organized by the Conservative Christian Party (CCP) and sanctioned by the Minsk city government, ran from the Culture Palace of the Worsted Mill on Mayakowskaha Street to Loshytsa Park, a Stalin-era massacre site.

Participants displayed Belarus’ historically national white-red-white flags, chanted “Zhyve Belarus!” (Long Live Belarus!) and sang patriotic songs.

The procession was accompanied by plainclothesmen, with some of them filming the event on video cameras.

Such events are important for the Belarusian people, CCP Deputy Chairman Yury Belenki told reporters before the beginning of the march, which ended with a rally in Loshytsa Park. “Formerly, Belarusians were destroyed physically and now the Belarusian nation is destroyed indirectly, though ethnocide, Chernobyl, hydrolysis vodka and degradation,” he said. “By such marches, we want to show that the Belarusian nation exists and will continue to exist.”

Mr. Belenki emphasized the importance of the fact that more and more young people take part in the annual march to Loshytsa Park, which he said testifies to the succession of generations.

Loshytsa Park is one of the nine known sites in and near Minsk where people were executed and buried by the NKVD in the 1930s and the early 1940s.

According to Zyanon Paznyak, the emigre leader of the CCP who was a senior research assistant with the archeology department of the History Institute of the National Academy of Sciences in the 1980s, up to 10,000 people were executed in 1937 in what is now Loshytsa Park. In 1988, after Mr. Paznyak initiated excavations in the area, authorities filled up the ravine where people had been shot and garages were built there. “The KGB thus attempted to hide the traces of its crimes,” Mr. Paznyak said in a letter that was read out during the Sunday rally.

A five-meter high wooden cross bearing the inscription “To the Victims of the Bolshevik Terror” was erected in the area in 1995 by civil society activists on the initiative of the Belarusian Popular Front. //BelaPAN