Stalin-Era Mass Grave Discovered In Ukraine Could Contain The Bodies Of 8,000 Victims

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Stalin-Era Mass Grave Discovered In Ukraine Could Contain The Bodies Of 8,000 Victims

Researchers in Ukraine have uncovered a mass grave that they believe contains the bodies of victims of the Soviet secret police during the reign of Joseph Stalin.


29 large graves containing the bodies of between 5,000 and 8,000 people were found on the outskirts of the major southern Ukrainian city of Odessa. The victims are thought to have likely been killed in the late 1930s.


Prior to its independence in 1991, Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union and under the control of the authoritarian regime in Moscow. Many of those killed were likely opponents of the Soviet system or Ukrainian nationalists. They may also have been 'kulaks', a wealthy peasant class that Stalin sought to crush as a means of bringing about agricultural reform and to create an increased food supply for the rapidly growing cities.


Unfortunately, due to the lack of records, and those records that do exist being kept in Russia, it is unclear how many victims can be identified. Russian-Ukrainian relations are extremely poor after Russia's annexation of Crimea, and it is highly unlikely the Russian government would hand over any records relating to the massacres or executions.


According to Ukrinform, around 8,600 people in the region were sentenced to death by the Soviet secret police between 1938 and 1941.


These are not the first mass graves found in Ukraine, nor do they represent the vast majority of deaths at the time. Another mass grave in a forest outside of the capital Kiev is estimated to contain the bodies of 200,000 individuals executed by the Soviets.


In the 1930s, a large famine known as the 'Holodomor', swept Ukraine killing in excess of 3 million people. It is debated by historians to what degree the famine was the result of natural causes, and to what degree it was intentionally created by the Soviet authorities to undermine Ukraine and the kulaks.


Many Russians accuse the Ukrainians of siding with the Nazis during the German invasion of the Soviet Union and claim that Ukrainian nationalists of having fascist sympathies.


[h/t: BBC]


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Thinking Humanity: Stalin-Era Mass Grave Discovered In Ukraine Could Contain The Bodies Of 8,000 Victims
Stalin-Era Mass Grave Discovered In Ukraine Could Contain The Bodies Of 8,000 Victims
Researchers in Ukraine have uncovered a mass grave that they believe contains the bodies of victims of the Soviet secret police during the reign of Jo
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