Eighty years ago, on October 25, 1935, crowds gathered to watch as the second diamond-encrusted Soviet star was hoisted onto the Trinity Tower in the Kremlin. The first had gone up the day before; two more went up the day after. Gilded, shiny new stars replaced the tsarist eagles and celebrated Soviet political power. But was it all worth celebrating? On this October 30, the Day of Memory for Victims of Political Repression, let’s take a look at what else was happening that day.
A few people were getting arrested:
A few others were being sentenced:
And in one very lucky and unusual case, one Aleksandr Fyodorovich Kulikov was being rehabilitated on this very day after being arrested and immediately sentenced under Article 58-10 back in August. The court was ordered to drop the case and erase the record “for lack of evidence.” (Historically, almost never an issue in political trials.)
For a period when over half a million people were arrested every year, these pickings are surprisingly sparse – maybe the political repression machine was taking it easy on that Friday (not to mention that the records are almost definitely incomplete). Just ten months after the assassination of party leader Sergei Kirov, things were still heating up – and the horrors of the “Great Terror” (1937-1938) were yet to come. It’s hard to imagine: how many people watching the raising of the new Kremlin stars were thinking of these arrests – or even knew about them?
Case records source: Memorial
Image credit: “Moscow Kremlin Star 2011” by Alexey Vikhrov, via Wikimedia Commons
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