Cover Osteuropa 11-12/2017

In Osteuropa 11-12/2017

The friend of humanity
On the death of Arseny Roginsky

Jens Siegert

Deutsche Fassung


Arseny Roginsky’s life was dominated by the camps. He was born in a penal colony, his father died in a camp, and as a historian, he was interested during the early stages of his career in the victims of Bolshevist rule. In the Soviet Union, he was sentenced to four years’ camp imprisonment for his work on the Pamyat publications. Following his release, Roginsky was spiritus rector of the Memorial organisation, which during its 30 years of existence brought to light and disseminated fundamental knowledge about life in the camps, the system of terror and the structure of totalitarian rule. While at first, he supported the new Russia under President Yeltsin with high hopes for the future, he did not baulk from sharply criticising the shelling of the Russian White House and the first Chechen war. As a result, he gained many enemies. However, even among those who disagreed with him, there was no-one who doubted his great integrity, sincerity and decency.

(Osteuropa 11-12/2017, pp. 125–136)