Person of the Week: Denis Karagodin

posted 28 Nov 2016, 03:30 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 28 Nov 2016, 03:33 ]
On 19 November 2016 RFE/RL reported that Tomsk resident Denis Karagodin had managed to tracked down the names of the men who helped execute his great-grandfather in 1938 on charges of spying for the Japanese. As Tom Parfitt, writing in The Times reports, 'Mr Karagodin, a designer and philosophy graduate, has become famous nationwide with his campaign for the truth. This month, after thousands of hours of hunting in KGB archives, firing off written requests to truculent officials and fielding messages via his website, he finally identified the three people who shot his great-grandfather.'

As Kevin Rothrock writes in The Moscow Times, 'Denis Karagodin managed to convince initially reluctant security-services archivists to show him documents that helped him reconstruct the chain of events that led to his relative’s execution almost 80 years ago. Karagodin says he’s found the names of the people involved at every stage of his great-grandfather’s death, from the NKVD leadership in Moscow to the officers in Tomsk charged with enforcing the sentence, including even locals drivers and typists, and the actual gunmen who carried out the execution. The key document in the investigation was an execution order by the Tomsk NKVD office against 36 different people, including Karagodin’s great-grandfather. “The historians and specialists I was able to reach couldn’t believe that I’d managed to get this document,” he told Radio Liberty. “Some were simply in shock that such documents still exist and that you can actually get them. It’s possible that I might be the first person in Russia’s history to be given such documents.”

Rothrock notes that, 'According to Denis Karagodin’s website, his family never believed the charges against Stepan, and it spent decades trying to clear his name. Denis began his investigation in 2012, collecting information about NKVD employees at departmental and political archives. He says he also got help from the relatives of other people executed at the same time as his great-grandfather.'

Photo: RFE/RL

Kevin Rothrock, ‘"Historians couldn't believe such documents still exist". Russian man tracks down the secret police who executed his great-grandfather 80 years ago,' The Moscow Times, 21 November 2016
Dmitry Volchek, '"Мне помогают расстрелянные",' RFE/RL, 19 November 2016
Tom Parfitt, 'Russian takes on KGB to uncover truth of great-grandfather’s death,' The Times, 26 November 2016
'Расследование в отношении судьбы КАРАГОДИНА Степана Ивановича,' website of Denis Karagodin
Carl Schreck and Dmitry Volchek, 'One Russian's Search For His Great-Grandfather's Soviet Police Killers,' RFE/RL, 23 June 2016 
Person of the Week: Denis Karagodin, Rights in Russia, 4 July 2016