Polish officials in Russia paid tribute to victims of Stalinist repression

On Saturday, the Ambassador of Poland in Moscow, Krzysztof Krajewski, together with representatives of the Polish community, laid flowers on graves of Poles at the Vvedenskoye Cemetery in the Russian capital. The ceremony took place on October 30, Remembrance Day for the Victims of Political Repression.

Representatives of the Polish minority, Polish clergy and diplomats met at the cemetery, which from the beginning of the 19th century was a place of rest for foreigners living in Russia, to commemorate the victims of Stalinist repressions. Polish graves are located in the part of the cemetery where Catholics are buried.

“The memory of those who passed away is deeply rooted in our tradition. Without remembering them, one cannot think about the future,” the Ambassador said. He added that the memory of Poles killed during these repression is alive. Many Russians also appeared at the cemetery on the official day of remembrance of the victims of repression in Russia.

The head of Polish diplomacy in Moscow visited the former NKVD training ground in Butów near Moscow on Saturday morning, where executions took place during the great Stalinist purges of 1937-38. From August 1937 to October 1938, 20,760 people were shot there, including about 1,000 Poles. The ambassador also laid flowers in front of the Solovetsky Stone, commemorating the victims of political repression.

The diplomat assessed that the memory of the victims of repression might bring Poles and Russians together through the emotionally uniting respect for the dead. This gives hope that “the memory of those who passed away is a unifying element,” he emphasised.