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Ryazan Memorial on Commemorating the Victims of Political Repression

Source: (author), 02/07/10
Andrei Blinushov, chair of the Ryazan Memorial human rights organization, is a member of the jury established to select the best design for a memorial to the victims of political repression in Ryazan. Andrei Blinushov here comments on the decision of the city administration to establish a memorial.
‘I am extremely pleased that the administration of our city has supported this community initiative and has decided to establish a memorial to the victims of political repression in Ryazan. Families who suffered as a result of political terror have waited many years for this. It is also gratifying that the design will be selected through an independent competition.
Putting up a memorial in the special cemetery for the victims of war and repression on Magistralnaya Street is logical. It was here that the bodies of those from Ryazan who were shot in the years of Stalin's Great Terror were reburied in the 1990s.
Nevertheless, we are concerned that under present plans the memorial will be located far from the city centre and will not be served by public transport. How, then, will Ryazan residents and visitors be able to see it? How will elderly people - former political prisoners and relatives of the repressed – be able to visit a place of such importance for them? Clearly, this question should be thought through now. I note that in the city there are a number of other places that have close associations with the period of repression, for example, Shulgins’ Garden on Liberty Street, Skorbyashchinsky Cemetery on Old Believers’ Passage, and Lazarevskoe Cemetery on Lenkomsomol Street.
We hope that in the near future similar memorials will also appear in these places. As we have learned from members of the Presidential Council on Civil Society and Human Rights, proposals put forward by Memorial to preserve the historical memory of the political terror are supported by the administration of the President of Russia. For its part, Ryazan Memorial has provided the regional and city administrations with the necessary information about places associated with the years of repression, information that has resulted from the historical research we have conducted in Ryazan region over more than 20 years.’