Chairman of the village council considers beautification of mass grave “inexpedient”

2015 2015-05-14T21:07:38+0300 2015-05-14T21:08:19+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Vitciebsk activists were invited to a meeting, which took place in the forest near the village of Hajsy. Excavated human remains are lying there in large pits. The activists have been demanding exhumation, examination and properly reburial of the unidentified persons for six months already.

They believe that mass shootings of victims of Stalin's repressions took place there in 1930-ies, which is confirmed by stories of local old-timers. The local authorities do not support this version, offering their own – that prisoners of the nearest concentration camp were shot there.

Objective conclusions can be made only by professionals, but Viciebsk activist of CCP BPF Yan Dzyarzhautsau is convinced that it is necessary to put the place in order in any case, as soon as possible:

"Back in November last year, we appealed to the prosecutor's office, police and investigative committee that scattered human bones and skulls were lying in the forest in sight. We were told that some of the remains had been taken for examination. However, there are still no results. On April 28, we again found many bones in one of the pits and again appealed to these bodies. A small part of the bones have disappeared – they must have been taken away for examination. The Investigative Committee answered there were no grounds for bringing a criminal case, but some inspection was going on. They can protract it up to infinity, but human remains can not lie in the forest like that! We asked the village council to let us to fell down dry trees there and beautify the place. However, Chair of the Mazalava village council Leanid Dubina told us that it was “inexpedient”.

“H also spoke about the "unreasonableness" of the minimal improvement of the site during the assembly which was held on May 13 by the authorities after receiving an appeal signing by 88 people. The remains were studied by the head of the village council and representatives of the local forestry, who stated that there hadn't been such things there earlier and they had no plans for working at this territory. When the activists asked to put in the minutes that the present people saw the remains with their own eyes, the secretary of the village council Katsiaryna Karaliova became restive, saying that it was "pressure with the aim of achieving their own goals”.

Mr. Dziarzhautsau explained the purposes of the activists: "It's embarrassing, and even a sin, when people are still unburied. Chairman of the village council proposes to wait until there will be some results of the examination, he said that he had called there a search battalion for the exhumation. In the end he confessed that he was not ready to beautify anything there or put any memorial signs, as he had no money.”

Father Mikhail, priest of the nearest Orthodox church, located in the agrarian settlement Luzhasna, has a radically different attitude.

"We met Father Mikhail by chance and started asking whether people didn't mention Stalinist executions in these places. He immediately asked the locals and phoned to familiar Cossacks Valery and Ihar Siamashkas, who arrived at the place. We showed them everything and told what we knew. The priest agreed that at least a temporary cross needed to be installed there. We put some crosses on our own, but father Mikhail proposed us to put a large cross, which could be seen from the highway, and asked to make a Cross procession there at the end of May. We are ready to join it put our efforts so that the unknown victims could get long-awaited peace," says Yan Dziarzhautsau.

The activists hope they will be reported about the results of the examination of the remains. However, they wonder why the investigators didn't take for investigation fragments of shoes, found in the graves – seals on them are clearly visible, and their dates are not later than 1938. The activists point that the local authorities stubbornly deny the version about Stalin's shootings, though it is confirmed by local witnesses, and are afraid that the officials may try to hid the truth from the people.