Kurapaty is a wooded area on the outskirts of Minsk
- Ecological situation :The ecological situation is monitored by Republican Center of Radioactive and Environmental Control .During 2003–2008 the overall weight of contaminants increased from 186,000 to 247,400 tons. The change of gas as industrial fuel to mazut for financial reasons has worsened...

, Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

, in which a vast number of people were executed between 1937 and 1941 by the Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 secret police
Secret police
Secret police are a police agency which operates in secrecy and beyond the law to protect the political power of an individual dictator or an authoritarian political regime....

, the NKVD
The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs was the public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union that directly executed the rule of power of the Soviets, including political repression, during the era of Joseph Stalin....


The exact count of victims is uncertain, NKVD
The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs was the public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union that directly executed the rule of power of the Soviets, including political repression, during the era of Joseph Stalin....

 archives are classified in Belarus. According to various sources the number of people to have been perished in Kurapaty is estimated to be the following: up to 7,000 people (according to attorney general of Belarus Bozhelko), at least 30,000 people (according to attorney general of BSSR Tarnaŭski), up to 100,000 people (according to “Belarus” reference book), from 102,000 to 250,000 people (according to the article by Zianon Pazniak
Zianon Pazniak
Zianon Pazniak is a Belarusian nationalist politician, one of the founders of the Belarusian Popular Front and leader of the Christian Conservative Party of the BPF...

 in “Litaratura i mastactva” newspaper), 250,000 people (according to Polish historian and professor of University of Wrocław Zdzisław Julian Winnicki), and more (according to the British historian Norman Davies
Norman Davies
Professor Ivor Norman Richard Davies FBA, FRHistS is a leading English historian of Welsh descent, noted for his publications on the history of Europe, Poland, and the United Kingdom.- Academic career :...


Discovery and remembrance

The discovery by historian Zyanon Paznyak and exhumation of the remains in 1988 gave an added momentum to the pro-democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 and pro-independence
Independence is a condition of a nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory....

 movement in Belarus in the last years of the Soviet Union before it dissolved
Dissolution of the Soviet Union
The dissolution of the Soviet Union was the disintegration of the federal political structures and central government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , resulting in the independence of all fifteen republics of the Soviet Union between March 11, 1990 and December 25, 1991...

. There have been investigations by both the Soviet, and Belarusian governments, which have been inconclusive as to the perpetrators who are believed to be either the Soviet NKVD, or the invading German forces in 1941.In the Book 'Kurapaty The Road of Death' it is claimed after heavy research that the German army never entered the site and therefore never killed there. This is based on the eyewitness testimonies of villagers, from villages such as Cna
- Organizations :*California Nurses Association*Canadian Nuclear Association*Canadian Nurses Association*CNA Institute for Public Research and Center for Naval Analyses*Center for Transportation and Logistics Neuer Adler*Royal Canadian Numismatic Association...


President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 visited Kurapaty forest in 1994, when he came to Belarus with a "thank you" visit after Belarus agreed to transfer their post-Soviet nuclear weapons to Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

. Clinton presented a small granite monument "To Belarusians from the American people", perhaps the first post-Soviet cultural artefact from the U.S. on the Belarusian soil. The monument was damaged three times by unidentified vandals, but subsequently restored.

In 2001, when the Kurapaty site came under the threat from a planned widening of the Minsk Ring Road
MKAD (Minsk)
MKAD is the name of the beltway that goes around Minsk, Belarus. The name is an abbreviation that means Minsk BeltWay . The 56.2 km road straddles the Minsk city limits.-History:...

, its defenders (youth from the Belarusian Popular Front, Zubr
Zubr (political organization)
Zubr was a civic youth organization in Belarus backed by the United States and western powers in opposition to President Alyaksandr Lukashenka. The organization drew inspiration from Otpor student movement which contributed to the overthrow of Slobodan Milošević in 2000, and from Gene Sharp's...

 and smaller organizations) occupied the site and sat out a bitter winter in tents.

On October 29, 2004, the Jewish community of Belarus installed a monument in memory of the Jews and other nationals who were murdered in Kurapaty forest. The brown granite stone has two inscriptions in Yiddish
Yiddish language
Yiddish is a High German language of Ashkenazi Jewish origin, spoken throughout the world. It developed as a fusion of German dialects with Hebrew, Aramaic, Slavic languages and traces of Romance languages...

 and in Belarusian
Belarusian language
The Belarusian language , sometimes referred to as White Russian or White Ruthenian, is the language of the Belarusian people...

: "To our fellow-believers—Jews, Christians and the Muslims—the victims of Stalinism
Stalinism refers to the ideology that Joseph Stalin conceived and implemented in the Soviet Union, and is generally considered a branch of Marxist–Leninist ideology but considered by some historians to be a significant deviation from this philosophy...

 from the Belarusian Jews."

Each year in November, on Dziady
Dziady was an ancient Slavic feast to commemorate the dead. Literally, the word is translated as "Grandfathers". It was held twice every year . During the feast the ancient Slavs organized libations and ritual meals...

 (the All Saints or the day when Belarusians commemorate their deceased forefathers), hundreds of people visit this site of crimes of Soviet political repression
Political repression
Political repression is the persecution of an individual or group for political reasons, particularly for the purpose of restricting or preventing their ability to take political life of society....

. The first such demonstration in 1988, in which there were tens of thousands of participants, was brutally dispersed by the police. Officials from the administration of Alexander Lukashenko
Alexander Lukashenko
Alexander Grigoryevich Lukashenko has been serving as the President of Belarus since 20 July 1994. Before his career as a politician, Lukashenko worked as director of a state-owned agricultural farm. Under Lukashenko's rule, Belarus has come to be viewed as a state whose conduct is out of line...

 do not recognize the Kurapaty case as a certain Soviet crime against humanity
Crime against humanity
Crimes against humanity, as defined by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Explanatory Memorandum, "are particularly odious offenses in that they constitute a serious attack on human dignity or grave humiliation or a degradation of one or more human beings...

 and never mention Kurapaty in public.

See also

  • Bykivnia
    Bykivnia is a former small village on the outskirts of Kiev, Ukraine, that was incorporated into the city in 1923. It is known for the National Historic-Memorial Reserve "Bykivnia Graves"....

  • Dem'ianiv Laz
    Dem'ianiv Laz
    Dem'ianiv Laz is a mass burial site of victims of NKVD executions committed in the wake of the German occupation of Stanisławów , Ukraine in 1941...

  • Great Purge
    Great Purge
    The Great Purge was a series of campaigns of political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Joseph Stalin from 1936 to 1938...

  • Katyn massacre
    Katyn massacre
    The Katyn massacre, also known as the Katyn Forest massacre , was a mass execution of Polish nationals carried out by the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs , the Soviet secret police, in April and May 1940. The massacre was prompted by Lavrentiy Beria's proposal to execute all members of...

  • NKVD massacres of prisoners
    NKVD massacres of prisoners
    The NKVD prisoner massacres were a series of mass executions committed by the Soviet NKVD against prisoners in Eastern Europe, primarily Poland, Ukraine, the Baltic states, Bessarabia and other parts of the Soviet Union from which the Red Army was withdrawing after the German invasion in 1941...

  • Vinnytsia massacre
    Vinnytsia massacre
    The Vinnytsia massacre was a mass execution of people in the Ukrainian town of Vinnytsia by the Soviet secret police NKVD during Joseph Stalin's Great Purge in 1937–1938. Mass graves in Vinnytsia were discovered during the German occupation of Ukraine in 1943...

External links

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