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MULTIMEDIA ART MUSEUM, MOSCOW
MUSEUM "MOSCOW HOUSE OF PHOTOGRAPHY"
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Dedicated to the victims of political repressions

Alexander Rodchenko. Work with the orchestra. From the series "Construction of the White Sea-Baltic Canal". 1933. Collection of the MAMM Alexander Rodchenko. Guarding a Lock. Construction of the White Sea-Baltic Canal. 1933. Vintage print. Collection of Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow Alexander Rodchenko. "The White Sea-Baltic waterway is ready!". 1933.
Photomontage for the magazine "USSR in Construction", dedicated to the construction of the White Sea–Baltic Canal. Alexander Rodchenko. ‘Working in a Lock’. Photomontage for the magazine ‘USSR in Construction’, dedicated to the building of the White Sea-Baltic Canal. 1933 Collection of Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow Unknown author. Dmitrov correctional labor camp. 1933 - 1934. Silver-gelatin imprint. Collection of MAMM Unknown author. Dmitrov correctional labor camp. 1933 - 1934. Silver-gelatin imprint. Collection of MAMM Unknown author. Dmitrov correctional labor camp. 1933 - 1934. Silver-gelatin imprint. Collection of MAMM Arkady Shaikhet. Defendants in the Shakhty Trial are brought to the Column Hall of the House of Unions. Moscow, 1928. MAMM collection Arkady Shaikhet. Trial of Mensheviks-internationalists in the Column Hall of the House of Unions. State prosecutor N.V. Krylenko speaks. Moscow, 1931. MAMM collection Unknown author. Participants in the meeting with Iosif Stalin and Kliment Voroshilov. Moscow, second half of the 1930s. MAMM collection Unknown author. Writer Maxim Gorky. Moscow, 1933–1936. MAMM collection

Alexander Rodchenko. Work with the orchestra. From the series "Construction of the White Sea-Baltic Canal". 1933. Collection of the MAMM

Alexander Rodchenko. Guarding a Lock. Construction of the White Sea-Baltic Canal. 1933. Vintage print. Collection of Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow

Alexander Rodchenko. "The White Sea-Baltic waterway is ready!". 1933. Photomontage for the magazine "USSR in Construction", dedicated to the construction of the White Sea–Baltic Canal.

Alexander Rodchenko. ‘Working in a Lock’. Photomontage for the magazine ‘USSR in Construction’, dedicated to the building of the White Sea-Baltic Canal. 1933 Collection of Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow

Unknown author. Dmitrov correctional labor camp. 1933 - 1934. Silver-gelatin imprint. Collection of MAMM

Unknown author. Dmitrov correctional labor camp. 1933 - 1934. Silver-gelatin imprint. Collection of MAMM

Unknown author. Dmitrov correctional labor camp. 1933 - 1934. Silver-gelatin imprint. Collection of MAMM

Arkady Shaikhet. Defendants in the Shakhty Trial are brought to the Column Hall of the House of Unions. Moscow, 1928. MAMM collection

Arkady Shaikhet. Trial of Mensheviks-internationalists in the Column Hall of the House of Unions. State prosecutor N.V. Krylenko speaks. Moscow, 1931. MAMM collection

Unknown author. Participants in the meeting with Iosif Stalin and Kliment Voroshilov. Moscow, second half of the 1930s. MAMM collection

Unknown author. Writer Maxim Gorky. Moscow, 1933–1936. MAMM collection

Moscow, 20.12.2017—1.03.2018

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Curator: Anna Zaitseva

Curator: Anna Zaitseva

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DEDICATED TO THE VICTIMS OF POLITICAL REPRESSIONS

In 2015 the President of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin signed a decree ‘On erecting a memorial to the victims of political repressions’. On 30 October 2017, the Day of Remembrance of Victims of Political Repressions in Moscow, the official opening of the Wall of Sorrow monument took place with participation by the President of the Russian Federation. Acknowledgement of not only the heroic, but also the tragic pages in Russian history is necessary in order to look ahead at the future, while taking into account the lessons of the past.

Of course the exhibition cannot claim to be a comprehensive collection of all the historical testimonies relating not only to the repressions of 1937, but to all periods of Soviet history when political repressions were carried out.

‘Shoot without asking anyone and do not allow idiotic red tape,’ V.I. Lenin telegraphed to Comrade Paikes on 22 August 1918. In 1920 Nikolai Bukharin, one of the ideologists of the young communist state who later became a victim of the repressive machine himself, wrote in his book ‘The Economy of the Transition Period’: ‘From a broader point of view… proletarian coercion in all its forms, from shootings to labour obligation, is, paradoxically as it may sound, a method of producing communist humanity from the human material of the capitalist era…’

The exhibition at MAMM features unique archival documents, some of which were declassified only in the last few years; newspapers; photographs; newsreels; interviews with former prisoners; artefacts from the life and daily routine of GULAG convicts: barbed wire, the doors and windows of cells for political prisoners, quilted jackets and footwear from prisoners who sometimes had to fasten tyre covers to their boots instead of soles; letters and drawings by GULAG inmates that were subjected to harsh censorship; circulars regulating this censorship; the so-called ‘convoy letters’ , notes written on whatever was available that prisoners miraculously managed to throw from the closed train cars in which they were transported to the camps…

The terrible testimony of 1937 is a secret document, Operation Order of People’s Commissar of Internal Affairs of the USSR of 30 July 1937 №00447, signed by N.I. Yezhov. This determined the planned quotas of convicts for each republic and autonomous region. Norms were established, including the number of executions. Another secret document shown at the exhibition and corrected in red pencil by Stalin, in his own hand, gives the quotas for repression, increasing the number to be executed.

One section of the exhibition is devoted to the Butovo firing range, the largest area for the mass shooting and burial of victims of Stalinist repressions in the Moscow Region. Today we know the names of 20,760 people who were killed there. They were shot between August 1937 and October 1938, although the firing ground was operational from 1934 to 1953. The people researchers managed to find information on are men and women aged from 14 to 82, representatives of 73 nationalities of all faiths and social classes. About one thousand of those buried at Butovo suffered due to their Orthodox beliefs. More than three hundred of the priests executed at the firing range are now listed as saints. Their names are also recorded at the exhibition.

There is a slide projection of GULAG photographs and the full face and profile shots underline the fact that everyone, without exception, was mowed down by the machinery of repression, including great cultural figures, scientists, military leaders and statesmen, as well as those who actually organised and implemented the repressions.

The MAMM exhibition focuses on the fate of five heroes, outstanding figures in the realms of science, culture and the arts.

Sergei Korolyov was one of the founders of cosmonautics, the chief designer of rocket and space technology and Soviet rocket-powered missiles. The launch of the first artificial earth satellite (1957), the flight of Yuri Gagarin (1961) and man’s first walk in outer space (the cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, 1965) were prepared and implemented under his leadership. Sergei Korolyov served his sentence in the Gulag from 1938 to 1944. He died during an operation from complications due to anaesthesia. The reason for this, according to the doctors, was traumatic jaw injuries inflicted during the interrogations of 1938.

Pavel Florensky was an Orthodox priest, religious philosopher, scientist and cultural historian who continued his scientific work even in the GULAG. He made a great contribution to the study of construction in permafrost conditions, and also made more than 10 scientific discoveries, exploring the extraction of iodine and agar-agar from seaweed. (From 1933 to 1937 he was imprisoned in the BAMLAG camps, Svobodny prison camp and the special-purpose Solovetsky camp). In 1937 he was sentenced to death by a special Leningrad Region ‘troika’ of the NKVD and executed.

Vsevolod Meyerhold was an outstanding theatre director, actor, teacher and drama theorist. The Meyerhold Theatre that he created in 1923 was forcibly closed in 1938. In 1939 Vsevolod Meyerhold was arrested and tortured. He was shot in 1940.

Julo Sooster was a painter, graphic artist, book and magazine illustrator and animation artist who was imprisoned from 1949 to 1956.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn was a writer, publicist, public figure and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature (1970). He served in the Second World War and was awarded the Order of the Patriotic War 2nd degree and the Red Star. Solzhenitsyn was arrested in 1945. In 1953 he was released from the camp and sent to the ‘eternal settlement’ in South Kazakhstan. He was rehabilitated in 1957. Thanks to his literary output people in the Soviet Union and the world at large learned the truth about the GULAG. In 1990 he was awarded the State Prize of the USSR for his book ‘The Gulag Archipelago’. Deprived of Soviet citizenship and expelled from the USSR in 1974, Solzhenitsyn returned to Russia from exile in 1994.

Unique evidence of the ‘camp’ period in the life of each of these eminent figures is on display at the exhibition.

The director Pavel Lungin, one of the initiators of the exhibition, writes: ‘2017 is a year of sad anniversaries: the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution and the 80th anniversary of the ‘Great Terror’ of 1937. In-depth comprehension of these events has not yet occurred. Our society has internalised the serious trauma of Stalinism, like a sick man unwilling to visit the doctor and refusing treatment. But it is quite obvious that however much we talk of victories, without the elimination of this injury there can be no healthy development. I think that following the erection of the most important memorial to the victims of political repressions, the Wall of Sorrow, this exhibition will contribute to the return of a historical memory that is painful yet necessary for our society.’

Roman Romanov, director of the Museum of GULAG History, head of the Pamyat Foundation: ‘Nearly every person in our country has relatives who experienced the camps and exiles. They number in the millions, both the survivors and those who died. On the scale of history it happened quite recently, and now we are at an important point when this memory must be preserved so it can be passed on to the future. We are looking for new forms and formats, we go beyond the walls of our museum to bring this knowledge to different audiences. We are very grateful to the Multimedia Art Museum, Memorial, the Alexander Solzhenitsyn Russian Aid Foundation and all our partners that we can now show part of the story in one of the best museums in Moscow This collaboration following the opening of the Wall of Sorrow memorial is evidence that the culture of memory in our country continues to develop and we are on the right track.’

The State Museum of GULAG History was founded in 2001 by the famous historian, publicist and public figure A.V. Antonov-Ovseyenko, who passed through the camps as the son of an ‘enemy of the people’. The museum’s collection includes an archive of photographs, documents, letters and memoirs of former prisoners of the GULAG; a collection of personal belongings that belonged to them and relating to the history of their being taken into custody; a collection of objects used in camp life and tools, as well as 20th-century household items; a collection of art works by artists who passed through the GULAG, and by contemporary authors who present their interpretation of this theme.

The fund ‘for perpetuating the memory of victims of political repressions’ (Pamyat Foundation) was established on 18 April 2016 on the initiative of the Museum of GULAG History, as part of implementation of the Concept of State Policy for perpetuating the memory of victims of political repressions. The fund accumulates both private and corporate donations.

Co-organizers

Gulag History Museum Fund of Memory Memorial

При поддержке

Panasonic

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The Art Newspaper Russia


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