Memory is an instrument of truth: as the project «the Last address» destroys the shackles of political repression

Many associate the concept of «political repression» exclusively with Soviet realities and believe that in our time the topic has lost relevance. Alas, the modern world proves the opposite. Attempts to create a totalitarian society, to protect the population from external information and crush dissent — are all present today.

Russia, North Korea, Iran, Venezuela and several other countries are living in a reality where political repression is commonplace. History knows many examples when the authorities use punitive measures against its own people. All this is done with one goal: to preserve the existing political system. Methods and scope of these actions, sometimes acquire an enormous scale.

Memory is an instrument of truth: as the project «the Last address» destroys the shackles of political repression

Photo: «Last known address»

During the Soviet era political repression suffered more than 7 million citizens. All of them declared enemies of the people, often under false pretexts. The only one that waited on these people at home — pain, hatred, and suffering. To imagine the scale of the tragedy is difficult. The Soviet authorities tried to destroy not only specific people, but any evidence of their existence. However, the memory of the man to destroy is much harder than the fragile flesh. Especially if they are caring people who are trying to bring the truth to contemporaries and to preserve the memory of the victims of the bloody regime.

This is what the organization’s «Last known address«. Appeared in 2013 in the circle of the Russian intelligentsia, the project quickly found support in other countries. Its essence is simple: to preserve the memory of the people, repressed by the totalitarian machine, and remind modern society about the value of human life.

Their weapon is reallyapplied to a small plate. Dry statistics that says a lot. Such signs, with information about a particular person, mounted on house where victims of political repression came face to face with the brutal machine of a totalitarian state. «The last address» quickly became an international project. Similar organizations developed in Russia, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Belarus and Poland. Initiators and founding members of the contemporary intelligentsia. No government handouts. The only thing that drives these people — the desire to convey the truth about the past and present so that such horrors are not repeated.

Memory is an instrument of truth: as the project «the Last address» destroys the shackles of political repression

Photo: «Last known address»

We managed to contact one of the leaders of the Last address in Ukraine. Belobrov Dmitry works as a journalist on a public Internet television However, in addition to the main activities of young people actively engaged in social and cultural projects. Now he is in the US, where talks about the purpose of the «Last address» and the importance of her mission. We asked him to answer a few questions, and here’s what came of it.

— How did You come to idea of creation of the project «the Last address»?

The idea is not ours, but a group of Russian cultural intelligentsia and journalists. They created the project the individual memory of victims of repression in 2013. Ukrainian organization appeared in 2017. The idea is simple: in our world there is no personal memory of the victims, connect them in the millions, forgetting about individuals.

If faced with any difficulties in the process of its implementation?

There are many difficulties. The project needs additional money, we need people in different cities of Ukraine, able to pick up on the ground. But let’s hope it’s only a matter of time.

Organization of «Last known address» — the independent. Whether it is the support of the authorities of Ukraine?

— We are not too please about this support. It is not, but there is no resistance, which is already very good.

You now travel around the US, isn’t it? The purpose of the trip is to talk about the project and to attract attention in America?

— Yes, it is. It’s a chance to reach representatives of the Ukrainian Diaspora and sympathizers who are willing to help the project. Not only financially, but in terms of filing for their relatives, repressed at home in the Soviet years.

Memory is an instrument of truth: as the project «the Last address» destroys the shackles of political repression
Photo: «Last known address»

There is a difference in the attitude of people to the project in the US and in Ukraine?

— While I no difference seen. Here and there the project is surprising, positive emotions, full approval.

Why, in Your opinion, is so important the installation of memorial plaques to victims of political repression?

— Because we have been denied the right to memory is one of the structural building blocks of our lives and the mechanism of civil solidarity. The signs are called the people’s memory back to the people.

The idea of the project originated in 2013, but since that time much has happened, in particular, the occupation of Crimea and Russian aggression in Eastern Ukraine. Have You ever had to face in working with the modern stories of victims of political repression?

Our last plaque dedicated to political prisoner and dissident Valeriy Marchenko died in prison in vegetarian 80-ies. He showed a lot of Parallels with the case of Oleg Sentsov: invented charges, illegal arrest, revealing the sadism of the system. So the past is not so far away as we think.

Memory is an instrument of truth: as the project «the Last address» destroys the shackles of political repression

Photo: «Last known address»

Just wanted to ask You about Sentsov. He is now in a Russian jail and in protest he began a hunger strike. What do You think about this?

— The case of Oleg Sentsov and other Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia is a crime. A new round of political repression of this regime is directed against ordinary people, who disagree with the actions of the Russian authorities, against the slightest common sense. People need to stop kept in prison on trumped up charges.

The project «the Last address» is quite narrow specialization. Are You thinking about expanding activities in other directions?

— Our goal, of course, the hanging plates. We are committed to a gradual de-communization. Trying to have a public education job. But it’s not easy and takes a lot of time.

For more information about the organization’s «Last known address» you can learn by visiting the official website and group in the social network Facebook.