Remember the Date
Remember the Date: 5 March 1940 - Soviet authorities order the mass killing of Polish officers that became known as the Katyn Massacre
"The Katyn massacre, a series of mass executions of Polish nationals carried out by the NKVD (People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs) in April and May 1940, was prompted by NKVD chief Lavrentiy Beria's proposal to execute all captive members of the Polish officer corps, dated 5 March 1940, approved by the Politburo of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, including its leader, Joseph Stalin. The number of victims is estimated at about 22,000. The victims were executed in the Katyn Forest in Russia, the Kalinin and Kharkiv prisons, and elsewhere. Of the total killed, about 8,000 were officers imprisoned during the 1939 Soviet invasion of Poland, another 6,000 were police officers, with rest Polish intelligentsia that the Soviets deemed to be 'intelligence agents, gendarmes, landowners, saboteurs, factory owners, lawyers, officials, and priests'."
- Wikipedia [slightly modified]
On 27 February 2015 Boris Nemtsov was shot dead on the Moskvoretsky Bridge near the Kremlin in Moscow.
From the entry in Wikipedia, 'Assassination of Boris Nemtsov':
"The assassination of Boris Nemtsov, a Russian statesman and politician opposed to the government of Vladimir Putin, happened in central Moscow on Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge at 23:31 local time on 27 February 2015. An unknown assailant fired seven or eight shots from a Makarov pistol; four of them hit Boris Nemtsov in the head, heart, liver and stomach, killing him almost instantly. He died hours after appealing to the public to support a march against Russia's war in Ukraine. The assassination was met with widespread international condemnation and concern for the situation of the Russian opposition. Russian authorities also condemned the murder and vowed a thorough investigation. On 8 March 2015, Russian authorities charged Anzor Gubashev and Zaur Dadaev, both originating from Northern Caucasus, with involvement in the crime. Dadaev confessed to involvement in the murder according to Russian authorities, but, according to Russian media, later retracted his confession. Three more suspects were arrested around the same time and according to Russian media another suspect blew himself up in Grozny when Russian police forces surrounded his apartment block.
"Nemtsov was shot and killed crossing the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge near the Kremlin walking home after a meal out, in the company of Anna Duritskaya, a 23-year-old Ukrainian model who had been his girlfriend for two and a half years. She witnessed Nemtsov's killing, but was not physically harmed herself. TV Tsentr's video of the bridge at the time of the murder shows that it occurred as a municipal utility vehicle was passing by Nemtsov and a person is seen escaping from the scene in a white or grey automobile. According to the Russian newspaper Kommersant, at the time of the murder all the security cameras in the area were switched off for maintenance. The only video of the incident was obtained from the video feed camera of TV Tsentr studio, from a long distance. At the time of the killing, the camera was blocked by a stopped municipal vehicle. The killing happened the day before Nemtsov was due to lead the opposition march Vesna (Russian for "spring"), a street demonstration organised to protest against economic conditions in Russia and against the war in Ukraine. [...]
"Less than three weeks before his murder, on 10 February, Nemtsov had written on Russia's "Sobesednik" news website that his 87-year-old mother was afraid Putin would kill him. He added that his mother is also afraid for former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky and anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny. When asked if he himself was afraid for his life, Nemtsov answered, "Yes, not as strongly as my mother, but still..." In an extended version of the interview Nemtsov reportedly added, "I am just joking. If I were afraid of Putin, I wouldn't be in this line of work."
Two weeks prior to his assassination Nemtsov had met "with an old friend", Yevgenia Albats, editor of New Times magazine, to discuss his research into Putin's role in the Ukraine conflict. Albats said that Nemtsov "was afraid of being killed" but "was trying to convince himself, and me, they wouldn’t touch him because he was a [former] member of the Russian government, a vice premier, and they wouldn’t want to create a precedent. Because as he said, one time the power will change hands in Russia again, and those who served Putin wouldn’t want to create this precedent"."
On 23 February, 1944, the Chechen and Ingush peoples were deported to Siberia and the northern regions of Kazakhstan by order of Joseph Stalin. The operation, conducted on the spurious grounds that the Chechen and Ingush people had collaborated with the Nazis, was carried out by the NKVD, then headed by Lavrenty Beria. An estimated 500,000 people were deported and the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was abolished. Tens of thousands of Chechens and Ingush died or were killed during deportation and in the first years in exile. Survivors were only allowed to return home in 1957. On 26 February 2004 the European Parliament voted to recognize the deportation as an act of genocide.
'Russia's Ingushetia Commemorates 1944 Deportation Victims,' RFE/RL, 23 February 2017
Operation Lentil (Caucasus), Wikipedia
Mairbek Vatchagaev, 'Remembering the 1944 Deportation: Chechnya's Holocaust,' Jamestown Foundation, North Caucasus Analysis Volume: 8 Issue: 8
Sapiet Dakhshukaeva, 'Remembering Stalin's deportations,' BBC, 23 February 2004
Aurélie Campana, 'The Massive Deportation of the Chechen People: How and why Chechens were Deported,' Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence, 12 February 2015'Chechnya: European Parliament recognises the genocide of the Chechen People in 1944,' UNREPRESENTED NATIONS AND PEOPLES ORGANIZATION, 27 February 2004
On 5 February 2000, Russian soldiers summarily executed dozens of civilians in the Chechen village of Aldy. Survivors of the massacre have no hope of finding justice, with the authorities doing everything in their power to whitewash this and other tragedies. [Source: Open Democracy]
Kazbek Chanturiya writes: 'This Sunday marked the seventeenth anniversary of the Aldy Massacre. This is what locals call the zachistka (cleansing operation) by Russian military units in the small village on the outskirts of Grozny. About 100 civilians were killed in the operation, mostly elderly people and women, with a one-year-old boy and his young mother also among the dead. According to eyewitnesses, the security forces who conducted the "cleansing operation" in Aldy acted with deliberate intention, because virtually none of those killed had done anything at all to provoke them to such cruelty. [...] A criminal investigation into the mass execution of peaceful residents in the village of Aldy was opened on 5 February 2000; the investigation has been suspended and resumed several times since then. This crime, which can easily be counted among the cruellest episodes of the Second Chechen War, remains not only unpunished but also un-denounced and unrecognised by the authorities.'
Photo via Open Democracy: 'A still from documentary ’Aldy: No statute of limitations’ showing Russian journalist Natalya Estemirova before her murder in 2009. Source: YouTube.'
Source:Kazbek Chanturiya, 'Anniversary of Aldy Massacre passes in fear and silence,' Open Democracy, 10 February 2017
Remember the Date: 27 January 1945 - Auschwitz-Birkenau liberated by Soviet troops #HolocaustMemorialDay
On 27 January 1945, Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp, was liberated by Soviet troops.
"International Holocaust Remembrance Day is an international memorial day on 27 January commemorating the victims of the Holocaust. It commemorates the genocide that resulted in the death of an estimated 6 million Jews, 1 million Gypsies, 250,000 mentally and physically disabled people, and 9,000 homosexual men by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. It was designated by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 60/7 on 1 November 2005 during the 42nd plenary session. The resolution came after a special session was held earlier that year on 24 January 2005 during which the United Nations General Assembly marked the 60th anniversary of The liberation of the Nazi concentration camps and the end of the Holocaust. Resolution 60/7 establishing 27 January as International Holocaust Remembrance Day urges every member nation of the U.N. to honor the memory of Holocaust victims, and encourages the development of educational programs about Holocaust history to help prevent future acts of genocide."
- source: Wikipedia
Photo: 'Jews on selection ramp at Auschwitz, May 1944' (c) "Bundesarchiv Bild 183-N0827-318, KZ Auschwitz, Ankunft ungarischer Juden"
On 19 January 2009 human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova were shot dead on Moscow's Prechistenka Street. Rights in Russia was set up one year later on the first anniversary of their deaths in their memory.
On 26 December 1991 "the Supreme Soviet, the highest governmental body of the Soviet Union, voted both itself and the Soviet Union out of existence. This is generally recognized as marking the official, final dissolution of the Soviet Union as a functioning state. The Soviet Army originally remained under overall CIS command, but was soon absorbed into the different military forces of the newly independent states. The few remaining Soviet institutions that had not been taken over by Russia ceased to function by the end of 1991. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union on 26 December 1991, Russia was internationally recognized as its legal successor on the international stage. To that end, Russia voluntarily accepted all Soviet foreign debt and claimed overseas Soviet properties as its own. Under the 1992 Lisbon Protocol, Russia also agreed to receive all nuclear weapons remaining in the territory of other former Soviet republics. Since then, the Russian Federation has assumed the Soviet Union's rights and obligations."
"On 25 December 1991, Gorbachev resigned as the President of the USSR, declaring the office extinct. He turned the powers that had been vested in the presidency over to Yeltsin. That night, the Soviet flag was lowered for the last time, and the Russian tricolor was raised in its place. The following day, the Supreme Soviet, the highest governmental body of the Soviet Union, voted both itself and the Soviet Union out of existence. This is generally recognized as marking the official, final dissolution of the Soviet Union as a functioning state. The Soviet Army originally remained under overall CIS command, but was soon absorbed into the different military forces of the newly independent states. The few remaining Soviet institutions that had not been taken over by Russia ceased to function by the end of 1991. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union on 26 December 1991, Russia was internationally recognized as its legal successor on the international stage. To that end, Russia voluntarily accepted all Soviet foreign debt and claimed overseas Soviet properties as its own. Under the 1992 Lisbon Protocol, Russia also agreed to receive all nuclear weapons remaining in the territory of other former Soviet republics. Since then, the Russian Federation has assumed the Soviet Union's rights and obligations."
Soviet Union, Wikipedia
The Soviet secret police - the Cheka (from the Russian abbreviation 'ChK' (ЧК) for 'чрезвыча́йная коми́ссия' - chrezvychainaya komissiya) - was founded on 20 December 1917 on the basis of a decree issued by Vladimir Lenin. Lenin appointed Felix Dzerzhinsky, a Polish aristocrat turned communist, to head the organization. Dzerzhinsky remained the director of the secret police until his death from a heart attack in 1926. While the organization underwent a series of reorganizations and renaming - becoming the GPU in 1922 and then subsequently OGPU, NKVD, NKGB, NKVD, NKGB, MBB, KGB, and in the post-Soviet era FSK and FSB (the latter being the organization's current name) - the Cheka has remained a name for the Russian secret police in colloquial use. Operatives of the Cheka are known as 'Chekists'.
In a speech to the FSB leadership on 20 December 1999, Vladimir Putin famously joked that in his person the FSB had successfully infiltrated the Russian government. Soon after he assumed office as president in 2000, Vladimir Putin returned a plaque honouring Yury Andropov, a former head of the KGB and General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, that had been removed in 1991 to the building in Moscow where the former leader had once lived.
Pictured: Cheka badge as it was in 1922; source: Wikipedia
'The Cheka,' Wikipedia
Putin Speech, 20 December 1999, Путин_20_12_1999 Putin 20.12.1999 FSB - KGB
Brian Whitmore, Andropov's Ghost, RFE/RL, 9 February 2009
Andrei Sakharov, Russian scientist, dissident, public figure and human rights defender, died on 14 December 1989. Born on 21 May 1921, he was 68 years old.
'Intellectual freedom is essential to human society — freedom to obtain and distribute information, freedom for open-minded and unfearing debate, and freedom from pressure by officialdom and prejudices. Such a trinity of freedom of thought is the only guarantee against an infection of people by mass myths, which, in the hands of treacherous hypocrites and demagogues, can be transformed into bloody dictatorship. Freedom of thought is the only guarantee of the feasibility of a scientific democratic approach to politics, economy, and culture.'
- Andrei Sakharov, Progress, Coexistence and Intellectual Freedom
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