July 01, 2008

Digging up the Past

In 1962, Soviet police fired on a crowd of demonstrators in the industrial city of Novocherkassk. It was one of the biggest domestic disturbances over the 70 years of Soviet rule. 

Yet, even today, for Russians, the event is shrouded in misinformation, rumor and myth.A

Our cab is headed into the center of Novocherkassk. We are on our way to visit the city’s museum dedicated to the 1962 riot. At first, our driver does not believe such a museum exists (it is rather small), but then he recounts the version of the “truth” as he knows it. Apparently, the father of a friend had been there that June day and had seen everything: the bodies stacked up like firewood, the blood flowing into the drains like it was raining, the kids who’d climbed up into the trees and who dropped like hunted birds. Of course, his witness has been dead for years.

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