Kurapaty is a stow near Minsk where according to various estimates 40 to 200 thousand people were executed during the Stalinist repressions. For many years, this place has been a symbol of memory of the victims and a place where concerned citizens have been creating the public memorial.
All this time, the authorities paid no attention to the stow’s protection: the crosses installed there were repeatedly broken as was the so-called ‘Clinton’s bench’ installed in honour of the US president’s visit. After deciding to build an official monument in Kurapaty, it was apparently also decided to take this place under control and eliminate the crosses, which are “inconvenient” for the authorities.
The authorities began the active phase today: according to various estimates, more than 100 crosses were demolished. At least 6 activists were detained, and no one, including journalists, was allowed by the police to enter the area.
The MFF considers these measures an attempt by the authorities to destroy the public memorial, and expresses its strong protest against these actions. We believe that the crosses installed in the stow are an integral part of the memorial, and should be protected in the same way as the monument installed by the authorities.
Such actions of the authorities harm the effort to preserve the memory of the victims of Stalinist repressions. The MFF calls to immediately stop the demolition of the crosses and abandon such actions in the future.
We protest against the detention of Kurapaty defenders and demand their immediate release.