Clinton’s Bench Damaged in Kurapaty
Another vandalism attack has taken place in a wooded area Kurapaty. A small granite monument presented by Bill Clinton was damaged again, RFE/RL reports.
A representative of the US Embassy in Belarus, Second Secretary Steven Gillen visited Kurapaty. We consider this incident a great tragedy. It was a little bench, but it was an important symbol of friendship between the Belarusian and the American nations. Its a tragedy, he said.
A memorial ceremony was held in the memorial site today. Candles were lit in the places of mass executions. At the same time such actions were taking place in Russia. They are marking the 70th anniversary of the year 1937, the time of mass repression in the Soviet Union. The Russian human rights activists proposed to commemorate the memory of the guiltless people who were executed.
Igor Kuznetsov, PhD, historian, researcher of the Stalinist repression period, told RFE/RL, that was the initiative of representatives of Memorial, an international historical, educational, and human rights society.
In front of the memorial site special services officers in mufti were examining documents of every person taking part in the rally.
This is not the first time when the vandals break the memorial sign to the victims of repression of 1939-1941 in Kurapaty. Igor Kuznetsov says it has been the 11th act of vandalism towards the Clintons bench: It does not need comments. The vandalism may be stopped by force. Until now the authorities just demonstrated their impotence.
Last time the vandals visited Kurapaty 2 months ago: the Clintons bench was broken in the night of November 30. Then the members of the Christian Conservative Party cleaned the area and repaired the broken memorial sign.
In connection with another vandalism attack in the national memorial site Kurapaty, the Young Front organization stated that it wouldnt tolerate further desecration of burial places and the memory of Belarusian citizens or criminal passivity of policemen. The organization is ready to resume a watch of honour in Kurapaty including setting a tent camp of the memorial place defenders.
The Young Front underlines that nobody is allowed to insult memory of thousands of Belarusians shot by the Communist authorities in 1937-38.