26 years ago Belarusian learnt truth about executions in Kurapaty
16:30, — Society
The article “Kurapaty. Death road” by Zianon Pazniak and Yauhen Shmyhalou was published on June 3, 1988.
The Belarusians learnt the truth about Stalin's repressions in the country. After that, one of the first mass rallies in the USSR was held. People came to the Kurapaty area.
Politician Siarhei Navumchyk, a former member of the Supreme Council, writes about the date on Facebook.
“The article by Zianon Pazniak and Yauhen Shmyhalou that changed Belarus was published on June 3, 1988. 'We have a lot of impressive monuments to victims of the German fascism, but have nothing to remind the generations about victims of Stalin. This is wrong and cannot be forgiven,' Vasil Bykau wrote in the foreword. 26 year passed, but the authorities have done nothing. Crosses in Kurapaty were installed by people. So, this is the people's memorial,” he writes.
Kurapaty memorial complex outside Minsk is known as the site of mass executions. In April 1988, human remains were found during the excavation in the Kurapay forest. These facts became widespread due to Zianon Pazniak, a historian and leader of the Belarusian Popular Front, and the civil group Martyrology of Belarus. A governmental commission was formed in June 1988, and a prosecutor's office of the BSSR opened a criminal case in connection with the revealed facts.
The investigation came to a conclusion, which was confirmed by the press release of the General Prosecutor's Office of the Republic of Belarus, that Belarusian citizens had been executed at the site by the NKVD from 1937 to 1941. According to different estimates, about 30,000 people (some historians say about 100,000 and even 250,000 people) were buried in Kurapaty. Under Lukashenka's rule, official propagandists began to defy these facts, which had been earlier confirmed by state commissions in the 1990s.
Tens of thousands of people came to Kurapaty in 1988 to pay tribute to the memory of victims. The history of the Belarusian Popular Front “Revival” began from memorial rallies. In early November 1988, a thousands rally near the Maskouskia Cemetery and a march to Kurapaty on Dziady Day were dispersed by the communist authorities with the use of water cannons and tear gas.
Four official investigations on requests of different civil groups have been carried out in the Kurapaty case in the last 20 years. Specialists from the General Prosecutor's Office, the Military Prosecutor's Office and scientists came to an unambiguous conclusion that the executions had been carried out by the NKVD before the war of 1941-1945. The conclusion of the latest investigation has not been published yet.