MOSCOW (AP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday strongly denounced Soviet-era political repressions, describing them as a crime that should never be forgotten.
Speaking Monday at the opening of a memorial to the victims of purges, Putin said they dealt a blow to the nation the consequences of which are still felt today.
“Political repressions have become a tragedy for our people, for the whole of society, a cruel blow to our people, our roots, culture and self-awareness,” he said. “We are still feeling the consequences of that today.”
Putin said “millions of people were declared enemies of the people on absurd and unfounded charges, executed, mutilated and went through suffering in prisons and labor camps.”
Putin emphasized that “there could be no justification for those crimes,” adding that “the horrible past can’t be erased from the nation’s memory.”
The statement is the strongest condemnation yet of Soviet-era repressions from Putin, who has taken a cautious line on the nation’s Soviet history, trying to focus on its achievements rather than on Communist crimes.