Ukraine is opening up its old KGB archives, declassifying thousands of Soviet-era documents. The released documents include personal letters to Stalin, as well as information on dissidents who were “liquidated” by the communist regime. Millions in Ukraine died under Soviet rule. Between 1932-33 alone, many millions perished in a famine induced by Soviet agricultural policy. But not every secret is going to be aired. The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU)—now in charge of the files—is declassifying information selectively, concentrating on older cases. Still, not everyone in Ukraine backs the government’s move to shed light on its pre-war and wartime history. “It’s a witch hunt,” explains Dmytro Tabachnyk, a historian and opposition lawmaker. “To start a process of lustration after 18 years of independence would lead society to the brink of civil war.” Nico Lange, the German director of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Kiev, says that Ukrainians must stop blaming the Russians for their historical woes: “Ukrainians have a tendency to perceive themselves as only victims of those historical processes.” But chief archivist, Volodymyr Viatrovych, hopes that his team can find out what happened to disappeared relatives and loved ones, putting an end to the decades-long mysteries that have haunted so many families.
KGB documents released
Ukraine sheds light on life under Soviet rule