Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Declassification of Secret Records

Declassification of Soviet Era, 1917-1991, Secret Records in Ukraine

Comment: Why read this?

Because what happened in the  not too distant past in Ukraine and in Russia, indeed in all of the former soviet union, is still relevant today....sadly.

The poisonous long range social/economic/military/ and ruinous spiritual after-effects of that repressive terrible era, are still today, alive and well.

Ukraine is struggling to get free of it, even as it is being militarily invaded,  its citizens being bombed and killed right and left with many being forced to flee and become homeless refugees,  and made war upon and with its territory seized, and occupied, while 'ex-KGB agent',  Vladimir  Putin [ the admirer of Lenin and Stalin], and with his soviet-hang-over regime, in Moscow,  is trying to revive and encourage and increase this wicked and unjust repression of a former era, [ in Ukraine and in his captive un-free Russian Federation and ...where else?], under the false propaganda banner, of 'reviving Russian national pride', etc. What 'pride'???

"Pride is the father of all sins!"...say the Holy Fathers.

This is in reality, unrepentant impious blasphemous spitting on the sacred memory of the Holy New Russian Martyrs, and on all the millions of the poor victims of that communist repressive godless regime.

A rough machine-English translation: (SORRY! that I have no human translator)-

In Ukraine, the  declassified archives of the repressive organs of the communist totalitarian regime:  1917-1991

Author: Vera nun incl. April 19, 2015. Posted in Politics (Views: 88)
Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on April 9,  adopted a law "On access to the archives of the repressive organs of the communist totalitarian regime, 1917-1991." All documents related to the repression, violations of human rights and freedoms, will give the state archives of the Institute of National Remembrance of Ukraine. The opportunity to study them get everyone, including the Russian historians. Journalist "Medusa" Alexander Borzenko learned a specialist on Soviet repression Nikita Petrov, that the disclosure of Ukrainian archives means for residents of Russia - and why the Russian archives in the near future will not be declassified. 

- Opening of the Ukrainian archives - as a major event for historians?

- This, of course, very important and very big decision of the Verkhovna Rada - the opening of all materials, archives of the KGB, which acted on the territory of Ukraine. Much has been made under President [Victor] Yushchenko, but now we are talking about the disclosure of all documents - including cases of agents and materials of operational development. Reveals the so-called "dossier" - information about unwanted citizens who collected the Soviet secret service. 

In the history should be seen by all those who did evil deeds. It is important for scientific development and understanding than was the Soviet government than was the Soviet repressive regime in his even, I would say, quite moderate forms, as it was under Brezhnev and subsequent general secretary. The more material we have, the more we can understand and appreciate the mechanisms of political power, decision-making and state suppression of all that the state considered harmful, superfluous and unnecessary. Without disclosing the secret service archives of this understanding is impossible. 
Few look only at the party decisions, the decisions of party bodies, many of which, by the way, in Russia are still a secret - I'm not talking about the KGB archives, which are almost inaccessible to independent researchers. Ukraine is making an important step forward, which is already done in many countries of the former socialist bloc. 

- There are some episodes in the history of the Soviet period in Ukraine, where it is especially lacking archival material?

- Archival material lacked everywhere. Even if we are talking about the events that we are more or less known. Opening KGB materials expands our knowledge of the secret springs of repressive mechanisms. We know how, in general terms, there was an event, where to start and what is over, but we do not know all the actors and their roles. Historians can not make global discoveries, gain access to new materials, understanding of the nature of the Soviet regime is unlikely to turn over, it is more or less already formed. But the opening of the archives, it is important not only for historians - it is important for society to moral purification after the period which we call the Soviet and totalitarian. Open files you need to show the role of each and everyone.

- And what - now it may be that some people at the late Soviet Union cooperated with the KGB, and now hold important positions?

- No, probably. Still, after the disappearance of the Soviet Union for 25 years have passed, many high while people have simply no longer alive. It's not about settling accounts, and in particular the mouse, I would say, the moral order in society. People who secretly collaborated with the Soviet regime or secretly worked some wicked deeds, because they are, in fact, the internal themselves have long since been punished. After all, since 1991 they lived with the constant fear of exposure - this is worse than being exposed.

- In such cases often talk about the danger of the beginning of a witch hunt. Maybe perpetrators are dead, but there are their relatives.

- "Witch Hunt" in this case - is demagogic and false promise, it is a substitution of concepts. "Witch Hunt" - the persecution of the innocent. Witches do not exist in nature, then fight with them - this is certainly the fight against innocent simply on the basis of some suspicion. Now we are talking about opening an objective historical material, witches have nothing to do with it. Witches were burned at the stake, drowned in rivers, where it was a massacre - here about any violence no question. Just open that hide from people. 

The relationship of citizens and the state security in Soviet times - this is not a private matter of citizens, this is what was done in the public money for the taxpayer, that is, on behalf of the state, on behalf of all of us. And if some security officers received consent from someone on secret cooperation, he acted on our behalf with you, and we finally have the right to know how and for what has been done, do not break with the same Soviet laws (and often it turns out that violated that forced people to ensure that they secretly collaborated with the security organs). So that this does not happen again, these things, of course, need to show publicly; that is called lustration.

- Archival material is very difficult. Information in fact need to still somehow convey to a wide range. I understand correctly, that in itself is the opening of archives - this is only the first step?

- Of course. In all countries that opens archives, mechanisms have been adopted to equip people with the materials - in some places it is successful, something which is not very. For example, looks quite perfect the mechanism of opening of the archives, "Stasi" in East Germany. Justice of the new Germany was the position of the person against whom worked for the state security, the right to know, and including it has the right to know who poisoned his life.

- In Russia, the situation with the opening of the archives is somewhat different, but still the documents proving the criminal nature of the Soviet regime, mass repressions - enough. However, no fracture of public consciousness and in the views on the Soviet past, we do not observe.

- Well, firstly, I would not say that the situation in Russia to describe the words "somewhat different". It is fundamentally different. In fact, Russian citizens do not have access to a wealth of archival documents that belong to the law enforcement agencies - the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Intelligence Service, Ministry of Defence, the FSB, and so on. N. In the departments we see evil reluctance to open documents, although it reluctance to contradict the laws - on state secrets, a 30-year term of classification and other laws that guarantee access to the archives of the Russians. I'm not talking about the fact that a law was passed on Investigative activity that elevates the work of agents in the level of state secrets - but it should not apply to such information Soviet era. We have every legitimate reason to open materials until 1991, but the Russian government on the unwilling. 

- But some documents still published today?

- Yes, many of the documents published, something is published now, but the question is: why it was not a factor in the public consciousness? Many policy documents of criminal decisions of the Soviet government published, but there are particular, there is the role of a character, there are materials related to a particular operation or repressive state security companies that are not fully open. After all, even as many documents, unfortunately, kept the secrecy relating to the Great Terror of 1937-38. The Russian side is still the secret of any documents related to the repression against the citizens of other countries - for example, the decision to terminate the Katyn case, where the clear and obvious was the main military prosecutor's office has declared the Kremlin wine and wine of the Soviet Union; it is, however, considered to be a secret only to our people did not read it. That there was no clear evidence of guilt and evidence of Soviet and Soviet criminal political practice. 

The same goes for 1945 - the crimes that are committed bodies SMERSH, for example, during a raid in the August woods, where 575 Polish citizens were secretly killed without trial, and so far Russia has not deigned to inform the place where, in fact, buried the bodies of the slain. It is a crime? Yes, but Russia covers such Stalin's crimes. 

- Why what was published, did not become a pretext for breaking the public consciousness?

- This question is why so few people realize that the Soviet regime was based solely on repression, fear of reprisals, forced labor? People do not want to lose the pleasant illusion that they were of a certain conflict-free past, that it was good. Stalin broke the laws of the country, which led, that is, he was a criminal, and documents proving it - the sea. But they have become the basis for any judicial verdict against the Soviet regime and its rulers? No, it did not. And in Ukraine, such decisions have already been taken - in respect of famine, for example. 

- What are the difficulties encountered a man who wants to see action against their relatives in the Russian archives?

- When it comes to criminal prosecution, then, in the case of the rehabilitation of the relative person can get and see the matter. But then - issued such cases, often closing some important pages, all the while trying to hide something, than cause a normal citizen resentment and indignation. Some people are not repressed, but persecuted - and material in the archives are their rapid development. For example, the writer Solzhenitsyn simply expelled. Intelligence agencies have developed Sakharov, writer Voinovich and many others - and so, of similar cases in the archives of the KGB nobody will. Say, we have a law that would allow to issue such documents. We at the state level is denied the right of citizens to know what the secret state security action taken against him and his family. The state and its secrets are placed above human - if you are told that you do not need to know all this, sit at home and do not act.

- And if a relative has not been rehabilitated?

- If you have not been rehabilitated, according to Russia's current law, 75 years is available to any business. And before the expiration of the 75-year period, the relatives have every right to insist on studying the case, for example, to prepare a protest for judicial rehabilitation. But, unfortunately, the current archives will do anything to not give such a thing, and not to help a relative in his efforts on rehabilitation. Although, actually, technically, everyone is entitled himself to come, and the lawyer to send to familiarize themselves with such a thing, because it is a matter of law "neprekraschennym" that is, the charges remain in force, they can always go back and revise their and for that matter, too, should be issued. Every time you need a valiant effort to break through bureaucratic wall. 

There is a law that gives the right to get acquainted with the affairs of the repressed, and there is a practice in what these laws do not operate. Hundred reasons to be invented so that you do not give these things. Of course, you can insist, but you have to work hard to get you these things were given. Sometimes even with the involvement of the judicial process has to people to act, they often lose even the courts - we do not know so many cases where the courts win.
Memorial to the victims of communist terror "Bykovnya", Ukraine
Photo: Gleb Garanich / Reuters / Scanpix
- Can the discovery of Ukrainian archives partially remove the problem with the secrecy of some Russian documents? Can historians now hope that they will now in the archives of the Ukrainian some papers that could not be opened in Russia?

- Can. In the archives of the Ukrainian historians will be able to read these documents. But in Russia with such securities will not remove the secrecy under the pretext that they have somewhere declassified. More recently there was a case when a Russian historian and researcher Sergey Prudovsky wrote an application to the Central Archive of the FSB to declassify the so-called closed letters to Harbin orders from September 1937; writing, that 's why repression and mass operations against citizens on suspicion of "Japanese spies." It was a massive operation of the NKVD, when many thousands of people affected. So, he was denied the declassification in Moscow. Meanwhile, the document was declassified in Kiev in 2009, and can be found on the Internet. This does not affect the position of the Moscow court that refused to invalidate the decision to extend the privacy "closed letter of harbintsah" adopted by the FSB and the Interdepartmental Commission for the protection of state secrets. And the Supreme Court is absolutely calmly said, and this document to repression does not apply. Although if you analyze the "secret letter", it becomes obvious that it is completely falsifies events blames spying on honest people. After all, the people who are listed in this order, rehabilitated - means the charges against them are proven false. This means that the document is a testament to the repressive campaign, and according to our law he should have been declassified. But it spit our Russian courts.

- And what is usually referred to simply archive departments and agencies? This personal secret, or a threat to national security, than a formal occasion? Or no one explained?

- No, just a personal secret and ends after a 75-year period. It would seem that the archives are no longer refer to that - you have to give. But begin to invent all sorts of tricks such as bylaws, rules of procedure as 2006 on archival investigative matters on rehabilitated, which does not require the issuance of affairs nereabilitirovannyh. And in fact, these regulations do not apply nereabilitirovannyh access for nereabilitirovannyh regulates just the law on archives of the Russian Federation in 2004. But officials who sit in the archives include bureaucratic misunderstanding: but we have not written here, so do not give. Of course, some very desperate attempt to discipline them with the help of the courts - not always turn out as I have already said.

- As far as we can compare the opening of Ukrainian archives with the opening of the archives of "Stasi"? When you open the file "Stasi" all ran to find out who informed on you, not whether your neighbor, friend, brother, those who gave you freelancers "Stasi". There's this institution freelancers was extremely common. As far as this interest is now actual - know who you informed?

- You know, if we talk about the Soviet time, after a 25-year term this is not a primary motive - after all, we note that the archives "Stasi" opened in the immediate vicinity of the historic collapse of the GDR. And the KGB archives, which will be open now in Ukraine, or, as I would have dreamed that, in Russia, of course, they do not represent this already today to topical interest. This is more academic, historical interest, but it's still a public interest and because we remember the events of the 1980s, and in Ukraine, these repressions took place, a lot of people affected by the activities of the KGB. So it's not the main motive is, but it is also important, it can not be denied.

It turns out that all the countries around us to rethink the Soviet past, we do not want one, hold on to it and find in it some of the historical material for inspiration. Here it says that we stayed in the past, and the Kremlin skillfully uses this nostalgia, trying to feed it, on the one hand, the tale of the Soviet greatness, on the other hand - not wanting to open any additional archival collection. Russia will not hesitate to call Stalin a criminal, and flirts with a historical theme. This mindless glorification of 1945, when we need to understand about any victims in question, when it is necessary to understand about any political regime that the Soviet Union established in Eastern Europe, is at stake. These were repressive regimes, none of us it can not be grateful, and we wonder how so - all released, and we thank you and do not say? This is the cognitive dissonance, we can not cope with understanding: but as it looked really in the eyes of the rest of humanity - all the things that we do? 

Violated logic and common sense. The source of power in Russia - the people, it creates a state and he has delegated his powers. It's not us for the state, this state for us. But we are not masters in their own country - you can see what kind of things happening in Russia today. Do citizens in a referendum decided to inject embargo against products that came to us from the West? No, the government has limited and - and everything, no matter what anyone Toot this bad, people did not ask, you know? This is our current political practice.

- If you open files, and historians go there, and it will somehow reasonably be published, it somehow is on the public consciousness can affect? Or thing of the past?

- And will go. Scientific tourism, of course, will flourish, because the opening of archives - it is always a feast for the people who deal with the history, it is always a wonderful event - to expand their horizons and enrich knowledge. In Russia there is bucking the trend: in Russia foreigners simply obstruct to work in libraries and archives, finding fault with what they have, for example, a tourist visa. 

I think that the Russian legislation is absolutely corrupts everything that should actually be. If a person came on a tourist visa, he has the right to go to the museum. Then the question arises: why did not he have the right to go to the archive? This is the same acquisition of knowledge - that the archive, the museum, the library. This is his private affair. money, on the contrary, he spends them on a copy (and in our archives it is expensive). In any country this is not - you can in any European country to come on a tourist visa and engage in the archive, enhancing their knowledge. 

Alexander Borzenko

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