Moscow, October 5, 2014
Representatives of the public are proposing to set up a new memorial on the territory of the St. Catherine’s Monastery in Vidnoye—a small town about 5 kilometers south of Moscow, where the “Sukhanovka” (officially: “Sukhanovo”) political secret special-regime prison was located in the Soviet era, reports Interfax-Religion.
Members of the city public organization of victims of political repression made the request to Michael Fedotov, head of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, reports the Human Rights Council’s website.
“In August the Council forwarded this appeal to the Moscow region’s governor Andrei Vorobyev with the request to consider it, to give support and to include this project in the regional program for the immortalization of victims of political repression,” the message reads.
The letter of response, received by the Human Rights Council from head of the chief directorate for social communication of the Moscow region Irina Pleshcheyeva, reads that only local government bodies are competent to pass decisions on this issue, which is why the inquiry went to the district administration”.
At the same time, I. Pleshcheyeva has noted that the St. Catherine’s Monastery complex has the status of a cultural heritage object on the federal level, and there is a decree prohibiting new construction on its territory.
“Now the local authorities must decide how greater importance can be given to memory of the “Sukhanovka” prisoners,” the message reads.
Currently a cross and a marble slab with an inscription of the tragic events are installed on the territory of the monastery. There is also an amateur museum of monastery history, dedicated, among other things, to the period when it was converted into a prison. However, in the public organization’s view, “all this does not reflect the scale of the tragedies and crimes, committed within the desecrated holy monastery.”
The “Sukhanovka” was a special-regime prison of the Stalinist era that existed on the territory of the monastery and was intended for political prisoners. Individuals who had held high-ranking political offices were kept in the “Sukhanovka”: eminent party workers, military officials of high standing, diplomats, and foreigners. But ordinary students and family members of “enemies of the people” were also among those imprisoned there.