Moscow residents honour Stalin victims

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Hundreds of Moscow residents on Saturday honoured the memory of the thousands executed under former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin's brutal regime.

The ceremony was staged outside the office of Russia's FSB intelligence service, which in the Soviet era served as the secret police headquarters.

The event was organised by Memorial, a rights group that emerged before the collapse of the Soviet Union, in part to document the crimes committed under Stalin's watch.

Led by former dissidents and political prisoners, participants each read a list of ten victims' names.

They also stated the age and profession of the person killed as well as the year they died.

The lists recalled the breadth of Stalin's crimes, as Russians, Armenians and Germans, as well as workers, intellectuals, soldiers, housewives and communist party officials were among those targeted by his regime.

More than 30,000 people were shot in Moscow in 1937 and 1938 alone, years that marked the height of the Stalinist purges, according to historians and Memorial.

Russian authorities have been accused by rights activists of not doing enough to make sure that citizens remember the dictator's crimes and of stifling research into his 1924-1953 rule.

© 2011 AFP

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