Aug. 5, 2017, was 80th anniversary of the beginning of mass executions in the USSR. In Sandarkmokh, Karelia, people gathered to commemorate the victims. The event was attended by Ukraine's Consulate General in St. Petersburg employees, including Consul General Lesia Lozynska, as well as consuls general of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Poland. The participants laid wreaths and burned candles in memory of killed Ukrainians.
The event was attended by Ukrainians living in Karelia, members of Ukrainian organizations in Russia, civil organizations from Moscow. The attendees prayed for eternal piece for every Ukrainian man and woman killed there (as found in official lists of victims).
Commemorative events in Sandarmokh have been taking place for 20 years now.
Sandarmokh is a forest massif 12 kilometers from Medvezhyegorsk in the Republic of Karelia, where thousands of victims of Stalin's Great Purge were executed in the late 1930s. Nearly 10,000 people of 60 ethnicities were shot and buried there in communal pits during a 14-month period in 1937 and 1938.
Many were from the Solovki prison camp in the White Sea, crowded into a barge that was long thought to have been deliberately sunk on its way to the mainland, drowning all the prisoners on board. Today Sandarmokh is a memorial to that and other crimes of Stalin and his regime and serves as the focus of an international Day of Remembrance.
Ukraine lost many well-known citizens in Sandarmokh, including:
- Mykola Kulish, Ukrainian writer, educator, journalist, playwright
- Les' Kurbas, Ukrainian theater director
- Valerian Pidmohylnyi, a Ukrainian writer
- Mykhailo Poloz, a Ukrainian politician, diplomat, statesman, and participant of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
- Mykhailo Yalovyi, Ukrainian writer, publicist, playwright
- Mykola Zerov, Ukrainian poet
- Hryhorii Epik, Ukrainian writer