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St. Petersburg. The police interrupted the promotion of a book published in Polish devoted to the memory of Stalinist crimes

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In St. Petersburg, the police interrupted a meeting with Irina Flige, during which they were talking about the Polish edition of her book “Sandarmokh. Dramaturgy of Meanings”, devoted to memorial sites of Stalinist crimes in Russia. The hall was attended by, among others, the Consul General of the Republic of Poland in this city, Grzegorz Ślubowski.

The meeting took place in one of the theaters in St. Petersburg. The police checked the documents of everyone present in the room and confiscated one copy of the book, the consul said. He added that the officers claimed that they were looking for “oppositionists and foreign agents” in the room.

The Kremlin media, which appeared together with the police, also suggested that a “meeting of the Russian opposition organized by Polish diplomats” was taking place in the Interierny Theater, where the book was presented, the consul added. After an hour, the police left the theater, having previously taken down the details of all the people gathered there.

Promotion of the book “Sandarmoch. Dramaturgy of meanings” by Irina Flige

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Irina Flige is a researcher of Stalinist crimes and the head of the St. Petersburg branch of the Memorial Association. This organization was established in 1987. From the beginning, it has been investigating political repression in the USSR and Stalinist crimes, as well as defending human rights in contemporary Russia. In 2022, the organization was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In December 2021, Russian authorities ordered the liquidation of the Memorial. Previously, the organization was given the status of a “foreign agent” in Russia. According to local law, persons associated with “foreign agents are prohibited from teaching in public schools and universities, conducting creative activities with support from the state budget or participating in tenders organized by public institutions.

The Polish translation of the book “Sandarmoch. Dramaturgy of Meanings” was published in cooperation with the Polish Institute in St. Petersburg and the Center. Mieroszewski.

Logo of the “Memorial” AssociationPress materials

During the times of Stalin’s Great Terror (1934-1941), the nature reserve in Sandarmokh, located approximately 400 km north-east of St. Petersburg, was the site of mass shootings and burials of prisoners, residents of Karelia, and forcibly displaced persons and victims of ethnic operations (including the so-called Polish operation). About six thousand people died in executions. people of various nationalities and religions, including at least 240 Poles. The Memorial Association organizes celebrations dedicated to the victims of Stalinism every year in Sandarmoch.

Main photo source: PAP/EPA/ANATOLY MALTSEV

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