Memorial Plaque, Levashovo, St. Petersburg


Memorial Plaque

Levashovo cemetery at the small village some twenty kilometres from St. Petersburg was one of the places where people shot during the Great Terror were buried secretly at the end of the 1930s. Many similar mass graves existed around Leningrad during the Gulag times, especially when the purges were most active, but Levashovo is the only one that has become official memorial cemetery. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, relatives of the people who disappeared and were killed began to attach photographs of the victims to the trees around the graves, and soon Levashovo had many unofficial and official memorials. Most touching of them are very simple plaques nailed straight to the trunks, just listing names, and dates of birth & death. As lonely mementos amidst vast, forgotten forests, these small, white plates with resin of pine tree frozen on them like blood, seem to embody how political repression of Soviet Union is remembered – and forgotten.


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