Kurapaty ( _be. Курапаты) is a wooded area on the outskirts of Minsk, Belarus, in which a vast number of people were executed between 1937 and 1941 by the Soviet secret police, the NKVD. At least 30,000 and possibly as many as 100,000 people are estimated to have perished there.

Discovery and remembrance

The discovery by historian Zianon Pazniak and exhumation of the remains in 1988 gave an added momentum to the pro-democracy and pro-independence movement in Belarus in the last years of the Soviet Union before it collapsed. There have been investigations by both the Soviet, and Belarusian governments, which have been inconclusive as to the perpetrators who are believed to be either the Soviet NKVD, or the invading German forces in 1941.In the Book 'Kurapaty The Road of Death' it is claimed after heavy research that the German army never entered the site and therefore never killed there this is based on the eye witness testimonies of villagers, from villages such as Cna.

President of the United States Bill Clinton visited Kurapaty forest in 1994, when he came to Belarus with a "thank you" visit after Belarus agreed to transfer their post-Soviet nuclear weapons to Russia. Clinton presented a small granite monument "To Belarusians from the American people", perhaps the first post-Soviet cultural artefact from the U.S. on the Belarusian soil. The monument was damaged three times by unidentified vandals, but subsequently restored.

In 2001, when the Kurapaty site came under the threat from a planned widening of the Minsk Ring Road, its defenders (youth from the Belarusian Popular Front, Zubr and smaller organizations) occupied the site and sat out a bitter winter in tents.

On October 29, 2004, the Jewish community of Belarus installed a monument in memory of the Jews and other nationals who were murdered in Kurapaty forest. The brown granite stone has two inscriptions in Yiddish and in Belarusian: "To our fellow-believers—Jews, Christians and the Muslims—the victims of Stalinism from the Belarusian Jews."

Each year in November, on Dziady (the All Saints or the day when Belarusians commemorate their deceased forefathers), hundreds of people visit this site of crimes of Soviet political repression. The first such demonstration in 1988, in which there were tens of thousands of participants, was brutally dispersed by the police. Officials from the administration of Alexander Lukashenko do not recognize the Kurapaty case as a certain Soviet crime against humanity and never mention Kurapaty in public.


ee also

*Dem'ianiv Laz
*Great Purge
*Katyn massacre
*NKVD massacres of prisoners
*Vinnytsia massacre


*"Kuropaty: The Investigation of a Stalinist Historical Controversy" by David R. Marples - "Slavic Review" Vol. 53, No. 2 (Summer, 1994), pp. 513-523

*'Kurapaty The Road of Death'ISBN 5-85700-149-8

External links

* [http://www.kurapaty1988.org/library_book.asp?id=3 A book available online: "Kurapaty – The Road of Death"]
* [http://www.kurapaty.org/ www.kurapaty.org/]

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