2010-11-19 17:44:00

Russian Church demands memorial after remains of purge victims found

Kazan, November 19, Interfax - The Kazan Diocese has called on the regional Tatarstan government to set up a memorial commemorating victims of Stalin purges following the discovery of human remains at a former NKVD prison camp in Sviyazhsk.

"Archaeologists have discovered that at least 5,000 people were buried along the walls of the Assumption Monastery executed predominantly in the 1920-1940s," a monastery monk said at a Friday press conference in Kazan.

He claimed the last execution at the site took place in 1943.

He said that during the Soviet era, the monastery's grounds housed a Communist secret police camp and a colony for juvenile delinquents and later a mental institution and a corrective boarding school. The monastery was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church in 1997.

The priest said several dozen skulls with bullet holes were found since the beginning of large-scale restoration work.

"It is difficult to tell the exact number of people whose remains have been found. There are at least dozens of them and more will definitely be found as excavations continue," he said.