About 200 Belarusians have arrived at Kurapaty, Stalin-era mass executions site near Minsk, to light candles and say a prayer together with the priests of different denominations. Belsat journalists are livestreaming the event.
On Thursday morning, bulldozers and other building machinery were driven to Kurapaty Forest near Minsk, where the NKVD, Stalin’s secret police executed and buried up to 250,000 persons in the 30-40s. About 70 wooden crosses have been rooted out; over a dozen activists and politicians defending Kurapaty have been detained, including Pavel Sevyarynets, Zmitser Dashkevich, Dzyanis Urbanovich, Valyantsina Yaromenak, Nina Bahinskaya.
Hundreds of crosses were installed by Belarusian activists who felt it their duty to pay the tribute to the memory of the executed. It was not until 2018 that the authorities directed their attention to Kurapaty: an official memorial to the victims was erected at the order of the Federation of the Trade Unions. Back in 1989, the BSSR Council of Ministers signed a decree to perpetuate the memory of the victims in Kurapaty. In 1993, the memorial was granted the status of historical and cultural value of international importance. However, after Alyaksandr Lukashenka came to power, the Kurapaty topic was silenced. Incidentally, over his 25-year rule, the head of the country has never visited the place.
It should be noted that Lukashenka slammed ‘ demonstrating with crosses’ in Kurapaty during The Big Conversation With President on March, 1. However, he also promised that there would never be sort of Stalinism in Belarus, even ‘under the dictatorship of Lukashenka’.