Returning the Names commemorative event that takes place on October 29 has been held for 15 years since 2007. It first started in Moscow at the Solovki Rock on Lubyanka Street, gradually expanding to many cities across Russia and around the world. On this day, thousands of people line up and, one after another, read aloud the names of those executed by the Soviet regime.
Very different people have been part of Returning the Names readings.
Among them are those for whom the Soviet political persecutions are a personal tragedy,
those who draw hope and strength from solidarity and grassroots actions,
and those who see the connection between past and present governmental crimes.
While the event’s format remains the same as it once was 15 years ago, our lives are changing dramatically.
Across post-Soviet countries, human tragedies are now unfolding, the reason being that the present-day Russian government is using tools and methods of terror and political persecution once used in the USSR, while society is yet to learn to timely recognize and successfully resist them.
For the second year already, Returning the Names is taking place in the context of a full-scale war that Russia is waging against Ukraine. Ukraine is defending not only its independence, but also the system of values that is absolutely crucial for us, centered on freedom and human rights.
Amidst mass murders and arrests, wherever they are taking place, the reminder of the value of each individual life is particularly poignant.