MOSCOW — A Kremlin commission investigating Stalinist repressions has rehabilitated 636 people since its inquiry began 10 months ago and will expose those who "blindly fulfilled inhumane instructions," the Communist Party daily Pravda reported Friday.
Mikhail S. Solomentsev, a member of the ruling 13-member party Politburo, detailed some of the commission's work in a lengthy interview published on the newspaper's front page.
The commission he heads was established at a party Central Committee meeting in October, 1987, "for further examination of materials connected with the repressions that took place in the 1930s-1940s and the early 1950s."
Those dates refer to the 29-year dictatorship of Josef Stalin, who has been accused by Western historians of ordering the deaths of as many as 20 million people.
Material in Soviet Archives
"Many people are guilty of the abuses: some of them were named, some not," Solomentsev told Pravda. "The measure of the guilt of every one of them will be determined."
He said the commission has at its disposal all materials contained in the Soviet archives and will complete a thorough review of the historical records that detail Stalin's actions.
Solomentsev said 636 people had already been politically rehabilitated by the commission because the accusations against them were unfounded, and that many other cases are still under review.
"We are equally interested in the fate of prominent leaders of the party and the Soviet state and the rank and file citizens--workers, peasants, office workers, party, government and economic functionaries, intellectuals," he said.
Among Stalin's victims were hundreds of thousands of Crimean Tatars and ethnic Germans who were accused during World War II of collaborating with Nazi occupiers.
Stalin also led the brutal drive for collectivization of agriculture in the 1930s, when peasants who refused to leave their land for state farms were shot as examples to others, and hundreds of thousands perished in the famine years that followed.
"The personal guilt of Stalin and the people closest to him before the party and people for the mass repressions and lawlessness is dreadful," Solomentsev told Pravda. "But the guilt of the leaders does not relieve of responsibility the voluntary executors, those directly involved in the infringement of socialist law, those who supported and blindly fulfilled inhumane instructions, committed outrages."