On October 29th 2022 the annual international action “Returning the Names” took place in Copenhagen on the Day of memory of the Victims of political repressions and state terror in the USSR.
Initially, the “Returning the Names” action was organized by the Russian human rights organization “Memorial” 15 years ago on the 70th anniversary of the Great terror. The first action was held in Moscow near the Solovetsky stone October 29th 2007. Since then “Returning the Names” has been held annually on October 29th in numerous cities around the world. Detailed information about the international action can be found here – http://october29.ru/ .
The first action in Copenhagen was organized by the group “Copenhagen for Navalny. Denmark for Navalny” in 2021. In 2022, the action was carried out by the sister organization “Danish Friends of Democratic Russia”.
The purpose of the action is to read out aloud the names of people, who died as a result of political terror in the USSR. Millions of people became victims of the Stalinist terror in the Soviet Union. Only in the period from 1921 to 1953 the number of the repressed amounted to over 5.5 million people. The ruling regime in the Russian Federation has not broken with either the Soviet or Stalinist past and continues to kill Ukrainians in 2022. Therefore every fifth name in the lists, prepared for reading out by our volunteers, belonged to the Ukrainians killed as a result of the Russian invasion.
Human lives are inherently valuable
The “Returning the Names” action reminds of the most important and unconditional principle – there is nothing more valuable than human life. That means, the state has no right to kill people. Neither in 1937, nor in 2022. Neither in one’s own country, nor in a neighboring one or in any other. In 2022 we commemorate both the victims of the Stalinist terror and, most importantly, the victims of the war in Ukraine – innocent people, doomed by the Russian state to death, starvation and exile.
The Russian authorities, which use violence with impunity, are first of all interested in forgetting the crimes of their own and of their ideological predecessors. This is the logic of criminals, interested in hiding their crimes. But as long as the memory of the victims is alive, there is a possibility of restoring justice and punishing the criminals.
Now the Government of Russia trying to convince the citizens of the legitimacy of their crimes due to past victories of imperial Russia. But the fact, that we read aloud the names of living people, whose families and present have been broken, whose future have been stolen, counters with this narrative. Names are crucial: if we do not remember and do not read aloud the names of the repressed and the dead, then in the mass consciousness the crimes will remain something distant and unimportant. Those who forget the lessons of history, are doomed to repeat them.
Eternal memory to all who died on the orders of the criminal authorities in subsequent periods of Russian history.
Eternal memory to those who died in Ukraine in 2022 on the orders of the same authorities.
Danish volunteers have prepared over 160 names of innocent victims of past and present terror. Apart from Denmark, the actions were held in 22 countries and 77 cities of the world, 17 of them in Russia. The names were read out aloud by several dozen people, and even more heard them.
In Copenhagen the action took place next to the Little Mermaid, which significantly expanded the number of listeners. The organizers handed out leaflets, explaining the purpose of the action, and entered into discussion with the people, for whom the scale of Stalinist terror and Russian aggression in 2022 was not obvious.
Watch the live stream here https://www.facebook.com/698999713/videos/1094868977715360/.