The Fate of Stalinist Victims in Moldavia after 1953: Amnesty, Pardon and the Long Road to Rehabilitation
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.
KeywordsInnocent Person Military Tribunal Secret Police Political Repression Mass Terror
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