Новые известия(en)
Holy revenge: what motives are driving the exposers of Stalin's crimes
3 May, 18:58
Holy revenge: what motives are driving the exposers of Stalin's crimes
Even if in their revelations the descendants of the repressed Soviet citizens are guided exclusively by a sense of revenge, this is completely justified.

Dmitry Stakhov

Researchers of Russian history of the twentieth century will have to reckon with the fact that they may face several administrative and criminal articles at once. It is enough that the articles "Violation of the legislation of the Russian Federation in the field of personal data" and "Violation of privacy" are charged and the deed is done. However, in order to launch a repressive flywheel, one must choose the point of application of the Force.

For many years, such is Denis Karagodin, about whom Novye Izvestia has already written many times. Karagodin, sometimes referred to as an amateur historian, conducted an investigation into the activities of the NKVD. It should be noted that it would do honor to historians burdened with diplomas and scientific degrees.

Recall that Karagodin's group is investigating the murder of Denis's great-grandfather, the peasant Stepan Karagodin, by the NKVD. Stepan Karagodin was arrested on December 1, 1937 by officers of the Tomsk NKVD, convicted by a special meeting as "the organizer of an espionage and sabotage group and a resident of Japanese military intelligence" and sentenced to death. Later he was rehabilitated for lack of corpus delicti. The great-grandson, on the other hand, established the entire chain of organizers and executors of the execution, including rank-and-file NKVD officers, quite justifiably calling them participants in the murder of his relative.

Denis Karagodin's activities have been going on for almost ten years and finally provoked a response. It is important to note, not on the part of the heirs of the NKVD, that is, the FSB.

Karagodin said on his website that the Ministry of Internal Affairs transferred to the Investigative Committee the materials of the check, which was carried out at the request of a resident of the Ryazan region, Mechislav Prokofiev. Prokofiev considered the information about three employees of the Tomsk department of the NKVD who could have participated in the killings (in particular, in the murder of Karagodin's great-grandfather) during the Stalinist repressions as libel and demanded that the site "Investigation of Karagodin" and its creator be recognized as operators of personal data violating the privacy of employees NKVD.

This is the second test of the Karagodin project. The first police began after an appeal from the son of an employee of the NKVD, Alexei Mityushov, in which he asked to protect the reputation of his father, who was named a murderer on Karagodin's website. Mityushov Jr. is not at all embarrassed by the fact that the handwritten signature of Mityushov Sr. is on the act of execution of Denis Karagodin's great-grandfather.

Note that not all the descendants of Stalin's executioners are like Messrs. Mityushov and Prokofiev. Karagodin wrote on his resource about those of them who addressed with letters in which he thanked for the investigation and for the fact that thanks to Karagodin they were able to look differently both at the common history and at the history of their family. But many of those who comment on Karagodin's investigation blame him for the allegedly prevailing feeling of revenge in Karagodin and the fact that Karagodin allegedly locked himself in "family grievances", is unable or unwilling to understand the complexities of the past.

Strictly speaking, Karagodin was the first to put into practice the reconstruction of the criminal "pyramid" from the bottom up, from the wide base to the very top. Having considered in this case not mass murders, but the murder of one particular person, his great-grandfather.

Previous investigations of practically all crimes of the Stalinist era were mainly conducted from the top down. At the top could be the genius of all times, there could be the signers of the execution lists Mikoyan, Voroshilov, Kaganovich and some others from the inner circle. The order, the list went down, up to some point retaining personal recognition. For example, order No. 00447 "On the operation to repress former kulaks, criminals and other anti-Soviet elements", signed by People's Commissar Yezhov, when it came to life, acquired the names of members of the Special Troikas, etc., but the direct executors remained unknown or information about them was partial, or deeply hidden in the archives.

Karagodin pulled the innermost to the surface. Basis, belts of terror. Karagodin brings his pyramid to its logical conclusion. He marks its top - the organizers (Stalin, all the same Mikoyan with Kaganovich and others), leaders (Yezhov, Frinovsky, Eikhe), lower-ranking leaders (for example, a certain Gorbach, head of the UNKVD in the Novosibirsk region), but documenting who is one of the direct killers (in the case of Stepan Karagodin - Noskova Yekaterina Mikhailovna), no one has succeeded yet.

But the main thing is not even that. The main thing is that a person is not always guided by "positive" aspirations, conscious or, conversely, unconscious. Often, sometimes all too often, people follow those constructs that in the overwhelming majority of cases are considered “negative”. For example, they follow feelings of envy or succumb to a desire for revenge. On the other hand, envy, revenge (as well as imitation) have largely shaped both human nature and culture. In other words, revenge is an integral part (no matter how we treat it) of our nature and in a huge number of cases it is completely natural and - we will not be afraid of this word - is justified.

Therefore, those who assume that Karagodin started his project out of revenge may turn out to be right. It is not given to us to reveal with absolute accuracy the motives of Denis Karagodin, but if revenge is indeed the leader, then this is completely justified.

The existing and to a certain extent surviving repressive machine (I would like to be mistaken, but the transition from its current state to the state of 1937 may turn out to be much easier than it seems) and its constituent parts did not incur any punishment for the lawlessness and murders that were taking place, for robberies and violence. The overwhelming majority of the executioners died in their beds, mourned by their inconsolable relatives. Their descendants and those close to them consider what happened to Stepan Karagodin either a mistake or a natural result of the class struggle in a hostile environment. They (as a KGB officer who issued a certificate on the rehabilitation of the grandfather who wrote these lines) consider the sons and grandchildren of those shot to be “offended”. For them, this is just an insult against the background of how the plow was turned into an atomic bomb by the efforts of the party, government and the great leader. In their opinion, it is impossible to avenge any insults there. Simple human motives and aspirations seem vicious to them.

And even more so, they are frightened by the possible legal registration of the results of Karagodin's investigation. Indeed, if the terror against their own people, carried out by the CPSU (b) through the Chekists, is recognized as crimes against humanity and acts of genocide, specific perpetrators (despite the fact that they have long been in the best of worlds) will be recognized as criminals.

The fear that is inherent not only in the descendants of the NKVD employees, but also in representatives of various government agencies and ordinary people, perhaps stems from a perverted sense of justice. However, this understanding of justice is better designated as "Critonian" after the name of Plato's dialogue "Crito". In this dialogue (in short) the friend and disciple of Socrates, Crito, making his way to the prison to Socrates, convinces him not to wait for the execution of the death sentence, but to flee. Socrates refuses, referring to the fact that “it is necessary either to persuade him (the fatherland - DS), or to do what it orders, and if it condemns to anything, then it is necessary to endure calmly, whether it will be beatings or shackles, whether it will send to war, to wounds and death; all this must be done, for therein lies justice. And in war, and in court, and everywhere you have to do what the State and the Fatherland order, or try to convince him and explain what justice consists in”.

Critonian justice, which has been revised and edited many times in human history, paradoxically revived in the totalitarian societies of the twentieth century. As if the times of the classical Greek polis have returned, when it was believed that the state and the individual (not to mention society) constitute a complete internal and external unity. This relationship is "a wise and sinless father and an obedient son in everything".

Such an idea of justice, laws and the state is deeply seated in all one-sixth inhabiting space. Paradoxically, it is inherent in those born already when the totalitarianism of the twentieth century has sunk into oblivion. Apparently he emerged safely in our days.

"Critonian" justice mistakenly understands Karagodin's actions as revenge on the foundations, laws, and the state. However, in essence, this is the restoration of justice in its only possible form. Justice coming from the individual. The person at the forefront. Or, if you like, at the base of the pyramid. There is simply no other.