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Name the executioners. How a memory of the past makes its revival in Russia.

In Russian
In German
In Polish

Ivan Kurilla on Denis Karagodin who is investigating the death of his great grandfather.

Stepan Karagodin was shot by the NKVD firing squad in early 1938 after he, among many other ‘Russian Harbinites’, was convicted as a ‘resident of the Japanese military intelligence’. Eighty years after his execution, Stepan Karagodin’s great grandson Denis demands that the FSB investigates the murder of his great grandfather and names the people responsible for this crime.

Ivan Kurilla – Russian historian, PhD, professor at the European University in St Petersburg.


The story of Denis Karagodin [Read in English], alumnus of the Tomsk State University who is investigating the murder of his great grandfather Stepan during the Great Purge in early 1938, has gone viral overnight. Stepan Karagordin was shot by an NKVD firing squad (NKVD is the Russian abbreviation for the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs) after he was convicted as a ‘resident of the Japanese military intelligence’ together with a group of ‘Russian Harbinites’. Denis demands that the FSB, the main successor agency to the Soviet KGB and NKVD, investigate the murder of his great grandfather and name those responsible for this crime. In Russia, such a step is both logical and impossible at the same time.

Stepan Ivanovich Karagodin

Stepan Ivanovich Karagodin

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One Russian's Search For His Great-Grandfather's Soviet Police Killers.

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По-русски (полная версия)
По-русски (сокращённая версия)
W języku Polskim (krótka)
W języku Polskim (więcej)
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Аuf Deutsch (vollversion)

A murder puzzle has consumed this man's family for generations.

One man has spent four years trying t find out what happened to his great-grandfather who was executed by Stalin.

Stepan Ivanovich Karagodin (center) was executed in 1938 after being deemed a Japanese spy amid dictator Josef Stalin's Great Terror.

Stepan Ivanovich Karagodin (center) was executed in 1938 after being deemed a Japanese spy amid dictator Josef Stalin's Great Terror.

Denis Karagodin had something important to say when he walked into the regional branch of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) – the main successor agency to the Soviet KGB – in the Siberian city of Tomsk.

"There's been a murder," Karagodin, now a 33-year-old designer, told the major manning the front desk.

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