Ukraine commemorates the Day of Remembrance for Political Repression Victims
On May 21, 2023, annually on the third Sunday of May, Ukraine commemorates the Day of Remembrance for Political Repression Victims. It is hard to estimate the number of persons subjected to political repression in Ukraine; the scope of this tragedy is unparalleled.
It is known that between 1920 and 1980, while Ukraine was under the Bolshevik-communist dictatorship, around 1.5 million individuals suffered imprisonment. A considerable number of these convicts were sentenced to death by firing squad, and the others faced imprisonment, exile, forced labor, concentration camps, and even forcible treatment in mental institutions.
The Bykivnia woodland in Kyiv is one of Ukraine’s largest mass graveyards for victims of political repression. During 1937-1941, the bodies of citizens killed in Kyiv jails due to severe political repressions were buried here, in Ukraine’s greatest mass graveyards for victims of Stalin’s regime. People were shot on false charges, chiefly of anti-Soviet activities and propaganda, spying, and membership in counter-revolutionary nationalist organizations. So far, it has been established that several NKVD investigators used torture, physical coercion, or misrepresented case materials to get testimony. Many of those executed from the Bykivnia Martyrology were later rehabilitated due to the absence of a crime.