Russian army parade.

La Russie, de la mémoire au déni

LONDRES – Ma plus douloureuse expérience en Russie fut ma visite à Perm-36 en 1998, dans le seul camp de travaux forcés de Staline à avoir été préservé. J'étais à Perm, une ville dans l'Oural, pour participer à une conférence de l'École d'études politiques de Moscou. Fondée par la remarquable Lena Nemirovskaya, le but de l'école est d'initier les jeunes Russes post-communistes à la démocratie, à l'autonomie politique et au capitalisme.

Par cette journée glaciale du mois de mars, j'ai rejoint quelques amis dans ce voyage vers l'ancien camp. Construit au début des années 1940 comme un camp de travail « régulier », Perm-36 a été reconverti en camp de concentration pour prisonniers politiques en 1972.

Les derniers prisonniers ont été libérés en 1987, la troisième année du mandat de Mikhaïl Gorbatchev. Il avait alors été restauré en Musée du Goulag par Memorial, un groupe de militants des droits de l'homme fondé par le physicien dissident Andrei Sakharov, pour rappeler aux Russes leur passé totalitaire.

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