Kommunarka Shooting Range

Address: 24th km of Kaluzhskoe Highway, Moscow

Lists of those shot and buried in the Kommunarka shooting range. Photo: Memorial Society Photo Archive

Lists of those shot and buried in the Kommunarka shooting range. Photo: Memorial Society Photo Archive

Kommunarka was one of three ”special zones,” along with the Donskoe Cemetery and Butovo, used by the NKVD (People’s Comissariat for Internal Affairs) for mass shootings and burials in the second half of 1937. Kommunarka was located on the territory of the summer residence of the former Commissar for Internal Affairs, Genrikh Yagoda. The estate was turned into a killing field in September 1937.

In most cases, citizens from the educated stratum of Soviet society were executed and buried in Kommunarka in the second half of the 1930s. For example, N. I. Bukharin and A. I. Rykov were buried there.

Starting in 1939, as the scale of the repressions diminished, executions and burials were conducted primarily on the outskirts of Moscow. Another “special zone,” the Donskoe Cemetery, became one of the most important centers for cremation. Up until 1941, executed victims were buried either in Butovo or in Kommunarka, but at present, it is impossible to identify the exact locations of burial sites.

Since 1999, Kommunarka has belonged to the Russian Orthodox Church. The Church of New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia was built there in 2007, and various monuments have been erected on the site.