A giant commemorative cross has been erected near Moscow for the victims of Stalinist purges which commenced 70 years ago.
At the site of a former execution ground in Butovo, hundreds of people attended the ceremony where the 12.5m (41 ft) high cross was installed. At least 20,000 people were killed there by Stalin’s secret police, the NKVD, with the first killings occuring exactly 70 years ago.
Events, organised by religious and human rights groups, marking the 70th anniversary of Stalin’s drive to purge opponents of his regime have been held throughout Russia.
The Siberian pine cross at Butovo, has been erected as a centrepiece to a new memorial to Stalin’s victims. Between 1937 and 1938 executions included about 1000 priests, monks and nuns but no-one knows precisely how many people were buried at the site.