Russians have been paying homage to those who suffered at the hands of Joseph Stalin, amid warnings that totalitarianism could return.Nearly 1,000 people gathered to honour the millions who perished in the Gulag system of harsh labour camps. It may have all happened a long time go, but for some the memories are fresh. Vitaly Garmash was one of those targeted by the dictator’s campaign of repression. He believes that those who sent people to their deaths were not brought to justice and complains that KGB officers, judges and prosecutors were never punished. While some relived painful memories, others voiced concern over the state of democracy in Russia. Grigory Yavlinksky, a prominent liberal opponent of President Vladimir Putin, has warned it would be naive to think such horrors could not happen again. Stalin’s brutal crackdown on alleged dissidents has become known as “The Great Purge”. Members of the armed forces, the Communist Party and even the government were labelled “enemies of the people” and sentenced to death or long periods of imprisonment.
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