Biographical Sources for RussianVictims of Repression/War
If you initially have a completely unsuccessful search, you may start to suspect that your individual was a victim of censorship or repression. Why? Well, for the Russians he/she could have been sent to one of the camps or shot or emigrated or maybe he/she was a member of a persecuted ethnic group. All of these groups of people can pose extreme difficulty for the researcher who is after biographical information. You may be forced to use non-traditional sources to get information and in the end you may not find anything at all. For an individual who eventually was repressed you often have to find a source published while that person was active in his or her field or, at least, published before the person was repressed. This is how you can end up using non-traditional sources, because the individual may not have been famous enough to have appeared in any kind of biographical dictionary before the persecution.
The Russians and other Eastern Europeans now have a growing genre of literature devoted to rehabilitating or remembering the victims of oppression and war. Below are discussed some Russian martyr lists, the publications of the Russian Memorial movement, including a bibliography of their publications, and other sources of information in this very difficult field of biographical research. Be sure to check out the section on Polish victims of war which was prepared by Barbara Bulat of the Jagiellonian University Library.
Belenkin, Boris.; Kozlova, E.; Strukova, E. N. Moskva: Memorial, 1995. 61 p.
U of I Library Call Number: International & Area Studies Russian Reference (Slavic) 015.47055 B411b
This short bibliography provides annotations for the Russian and Ukrainian publications of Memorial, an organization dedicated to the struggle against totalitarianism and the preservation of the memory of its victims. The bibliographic section is divided into two parts, “Periodicals” and “Books”. Withing each of those two parts, the citations are further subdivided by Russian or Ukrainian language. There are indexes for names and places. In addition, this work has a biographical component, for it provides brief life sketches for the Memorial members who participated in the publishing activities of the organization. An overview of the publishing output of Memorial is included in the Preface. See the entry below for the title Imena na obeliske “Memorial” which is also annotated below.
Mar’ianovskii, M. F. Moskva: SEIVV, 1994- .
U of I Library Call Number: International & Area Studies Russian Reference (Slavic) 940.5308 K742 v.1-5
This interesting resource attempts the enormous task of tracking and remembering all of the Soviet Jewish soldiers who fought against the Nazis and died in the process. Entries are brief with birth and death dates, place of birth and manner of death if known. A special feature of this set is that the entries also provide archival citations for the fonds of the various archives in which data was found on the individual. Entries are arranged alphabetically by surname with the letter A beginning again in volume 5. There are photographs of some of the individuals at the back of each volume. The introductory materials contain some statistics and discussions that may be of interest to those researching the fate of Jews during the war. See the entry below for Abram Semenovich Gol’man.
Rasstrel’nye spiski. Vypusk 1 = Donskoe kladbishche 1934-1940. Vypusk 2 = Vagan’kovskoe kladbishche 1926-1936.
Tikhanova, V. Moskva: Memorial, 1993-1995 .
U of I Library Call Number: Russian Reference 365.450922 R185 v.1, v.2
Victims of political oppression who were shot in Moscow are the subject of this gruesome source. Volume one contains short biographical data and some photos of people who were executed from 1934-1940 and whose ashes are preserved in the Donskoe kladbishche in Moscow. Volume two contains the same information for people who were executed from 1926-36 and who are buried in Vagan’kovskoe kladbishche in Moscow. Dates of arrest, sentencing, execution and rehabilitation are provided if known. Publication of this resource was made possible only after the opening of some archives after the fall of the Soviet Union. Information about how the compilers obtained the data is provided in the afterword. In the first volume entries are arranged in the order in which the researchers received the information from the Archives, not alphabetically or chronologically. The second volume organizes the entries by date of sentencing. For this reason use of the name index is essential. See the entry below for Sergei Konstantinovich Bel’gard.
V.I. Riaboi. Rybinsk: Rybinskoe podvor’e, 1995. 264 p.
U of I Library Call Number: International & Area Studies Russian Reference (Slavic) 365.45094731 R35i
Another source dedicated to remembering victims of Soviet political oppression, this book provides biographical data, photos, and dates of arrest, sentencing, execution and rehabilitation for people who passed through camps in Rybinsk during the years 1920-1950. This source is a bit different from the one above in that the people included did not necessarily die as a result of the terror. Some are still living. Some of the victims listed in this book were used as forced labor in construction projects on the Volga river. Entries are arranged alphabetically by surname. See the entry for Aleksandra Fedorovna Krylova.
Bogomolov, D. I. ; Razumov, A. IA. Sankt-Peterburg: RNB, 1995- .
U of I Library Call Number: International & Area Studies Russian Reference (Slavic) 323.044094721 L548 v.1-12
From August 1937 through November 1938 over 40,000 people were executed for political reasons in Leningrad and Leningradskaia oblast’. (This does not necessarily mean that the people were natives of the Leningrad region. They came from all over). Compiled mainly from archival sources, this set is meant as a memorial to those people who perished during the Stalinist terror. The set is divided chronologically with Volume 1 covering August-September, 1937, Volume 2 – October 1937, Volume 3 – November 1937, and Volume 4 – December 1937 and others from 1937 who were omitted from the earlier volumes. Volume 1 opens with an article about various aspects of the terror including information about the laws used as the basis for the action. Each volume contains brief biographical entries for the victims which include full name, date of birth, nationality, party affiliation, arrest and execution dates. Some of the entries fall under the section “Vospominaniia, Biografii, Kommentarii” and are much more detailed. There are also name and place indexes in each volume as well as some photographs and statistics. See the entry below for Ivan Vasil’evich Trostin.
Boer, S. P. de. ; Driessen, E. J. ; Verhaar, H. L. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1982. 679 p.
U of I Library Call Number: International & Area Studies Russian Reference (Slavic) 920.047 B52
With almost 3,400 entries, this English-language source has a unique focus – Soviet dissidents. Names initially were gathered from Sobranie dokumentov samizdata and then pared down to those who have significant dissident activity or who were sentenced to mental hospitals as a result of their activities. Entries are arranged alphabetically by surname and contain primary biographical data, dissident activity, and bibliographical references where applicable. At the end of the book there are a glossary of terms, a bibliography, and excerpts from the laws pertaining to criminal offenses. See the entry below on the librarian, Ajna Marti Zibaki.
Dedicated to remembering the victims of Soviet political oppression, Memorial has published a number of books as well as producing this website which contains an enormous amount of information on the topic. What is particularly valuable is the number of on-line martyrologies for the various regions of Russia. There is even an annotated bibliography of Russian matyrologies. The site also reproduces important documents from the 1930’s that were used in the course of arresting and sentencing individuals. Although at first glance the site appears to be well-organized, we have found that the best way to find information on specific people from this site is to use a general Russian search engine such as Rambler and search by full name.