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The Fate of Stalinist Victims in Moldavia after 1953: Amnesty, Pardon and the Long Road to Rehabilitation

  • Igor Caşu

Abstract

The fate of the victims of political repression and mass terror under Stalin (and Lenin) is an under-researched topic in Moldovan and post-Soviet historiography. The theme is important not only per se in that it focuses on the fate of millions of citizens who, in their vast majority, had committed no criminal acts and broken no laws. In the larger context, it is about the very nature of the communist regime, the way it tried to reform itself after Stalin’s death and to empower, to a certain degree, those previously criminalised and marginalised categories of the population who had been persecuted on ideological grounds. The subject is also connected to the broader issue of the limits of de-Stalinisation — to what extent did post-1953 Soviet rule mark a rupture with the Stalin years?1 This chapter is structured thematically rather than chronologically. In the first part, I examine the rehabilitation of party, state and secret police officials who had fallen victim to the regime in various periods of Soviet history. The second part concentrates on the victims of mass terror, mainly related to the three deportations from the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic (MSSR) in mid-June 1941, early July 1949 and early April 1951. In the third part, I assess the amnesty or rehabilitation of individuals condemned in the late 1940s for collaborating with the occupying German and Romanian war administrations, including war criminals involved in the mass killing of the local population, notably Jews during the Holocaust.

Keywords

Innocent Person Military Tribunal Secret Police Political Repression Mass Terror 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    On the limitations of de-Stalinisation, see P. Jones (ed), The Dilemmas of DeStalinization: Negotiating Cultural and Social Change in the Khrushchev Era (London, 2006). Specifically on Soviet Moldavia, see I. Casu and M. Sandle, ‘Discontent and Uncertainty in the Borderlands: Soviet Moldavia and the Secret Speech 1956–1957’, Europe-Asia Studies, vol. 66, no. 4 (2014), pp. 613–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 3.
    For further details, see I. Casu and V. Pdslariuc, ‘Moldavian SSR’s Border Revision Question: From the Project of “Greater Moldavia” to the Project of “Greater Bessarabia” and the Causes of Their Failure (December 1943-June 1946)’, Archiva Moldaviae, vol. 2 (2010), pp. 275–370.Google Scholar
  3. 9.
    For further details, see C. King, ‘The Ambivalence of Ethnicity or How the Moldovan Language was Made’, Slavic Review, vol. 58, no. 1 (1999), pp. 117–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 10.
    I. Casu, ‘Was the Soviet Union an Empire? A View from Chisinau’, Dystopia. Journal of Totalitarian Ideologies and Regimes, vol. 1, no. 1–2 (2012), p. 287.Google Scholar
  5. 39.
    For a recent comprehensive analysis of the subject, see L. Viola, ‘The Question of the Perpetrator in Soviet History’, Slavic Review, vol. 72, no. 1 (2013), pp. 1–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 45.
    N. Petrov, ‘Pervyi predsedatel’ KGB general Ivan Serov’, Otechestvennaia istoriia, no. 5 (1997), pp. 23–43.Google Scholar
  7. 52.
    AOSPRM, f. 51, inv. 33, d. 50, 11. 15–16; ASISRM-KGB, Sekretnye prikazy KGB MSSR, vol. 2 (1973), 11. 33–8. For further details, see I. Casu, ‘Political Repressions in Moldavian SSR After 1956: Towards a Typology based on KGB Files’, Dystopia. Journal of Totalitarian Ideologies and Regimes, vol. 1, no. 1–2 (2012), pp. 89–127.Google Scholar
  8. 56.
    M. Ellman, ‘The 1947 Soviet Famine and the Entitlement Approach to Famines’, Cambridge Journal of Economics, vol. 24 (2000), p. 613.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Igor Caşu 2015

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  • Igor Caşu

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