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Old 01-30-2003, 01:40 PM   #1
Grojlach
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Join Date: May 2, 2001
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False teeth for children of Stalin's victims


After 12 years of stalling, the Russian Duma has finally passed a law to compensate the sons and daughters of victims of Stalin's purges.

Each will receive the equivalent of $A5.50, one free train ticket a year, 50 per cent off the cost of medicines, and free false teeth.

The award, paltry even by Russian standards, is the latest sorry chapter in a compensation process that has been blocked by communists and right-wingers.

In Russia there has been a concerted effort to brush over the crimes of the communist-era. Officials refuse to countenance talk of atrocities committed by Soviet soldiers during World War II, while the FSB, the revamped KGB, is once again an admired institution.

Attempts by the Baltic states to bring Moscow's former secret police to book are met with howls of protest from the Kremlin. Almost 50 years after Stalin died, some of the millions of victims of the purges have been rehabilitated, but few have been compensated.

A law passed in 1991, under Boris Yeltsin, stipulated that victims of the Gulags could claim compensation for property confiscated by the KGB. But it set a cap of $1650 on each payout, and judged that the burden of proof lay with the victim. Each had to produce three witnesses to prove their claim.

Alexei Vasileyevich, of the Russian Association of the Victims of Political Repression, said: "In almost every case, all the witnesses were dead or missing. I know of one case when a woman received a few rings back after a former KGB officer helped her gain access to the archives. But that was the exception."

In 1996, the Duma passed an amendment allowing children deported to camps with their parents to make claims against the state. But they usually received only a few hundred rubles (500 rubles now converts to $26).

For years, compensation attempts by the sons and daughters of Gulag victims were blocked. It was only when local courts began ruling in their favour last year that the Duma was forced to bow to legal precedent and table a fresh amendment.

Critics of the new legislation say that a 92-ruble ($5.50) pension bonus is all they will receive for their suffering. The other social and medical benefits are accorded to all Russian pensioners.

Valeriya Dunayeva, 65, of the Russian human rights group Memorial, said she was outraged by last week's passage of the law. Her mother was shot in 1941 as a spy and her father sentenced to 25 years in Siberia as a political prisoner. She and her brother were raised in a state orphanage where they were both regularly abused.

"In Russia today, nobody is willing to recognise the horrendous crimes of the past," she said. "There are 17,000 of us who lost parents under Stalin in Moscow alone, but the authorities simply pretend we don't exist."

Source: The Age
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Old 01-30-2003, 02:48 PM   #2
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Interesting article, Goj.

Trust me, nothing could ever compensate those people enough. Not just the loss of their family but the losses and setbacks to the whole society were a crime. I saw remnants of it many years later when I was there as a student on two different stays.
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Old 01-30-2003, 08:56 PM   #3
AzRaeL StoRmBlaDe
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Its all a really sad state of affairs, but its a vicious cycle, that I am afraid they will probably never get out of. Always sad to see those that suffered so much, not get compensated, in any way for their long sufferage.
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Old 01-30-2003, 09:15 PM   #4
Vaskez
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Interesting indeed. Both my grandmothers had property taken away by the communists in Hungary in the 1950s. One of my grandmothers' sister was also shot by a Russian soldier and killed when she refused to have sex with him The same gran also had her father's house taken away from her and she and her husband with 6 kids at the time was forced to live in a single room in a peasant's house for years. The compensation was a choice between a pension boost and some small pieces of land in the country. My father's mother took the land while my mother's mother got the pension boost, but still is it enough after loosing her sister as well as her heritage and years of living, eating, sleeping in a single room with 6 kids?
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