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Armenia: Activists Cry Censorship as Government Shuts Down Stalinism Exhibit

The ministry has said that the exhibit can open again after it undergoes some alterations.

Schoolchildren on a guided tour of an exhibition devoted to the Stalin-era purges at Yerevan’s Hovhannes Tumanyan House Museum in late August. The exhibit opened in early August, but after less than a month on display, the Ministry of Culture asked the museum to shutter it. (Photo: Hovhannes Tumanyan House Museum)

The Armenian government has shut down a museum exhibition devoted to the Stalin-era purges, prompting accusations of censorship and reviving political debates over Armenia’s Soviet legacy.
 
The exhibit, in Yerevan’s Tumanyan Museum, opened in early August to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the 1937 wave of state terror in the Soviet Union. At least 15 million people around the Soviet Union, and an estimated 45,000 in Armenia, were believed to have been killed in what is known as the Yezhovshchina, named after the secret police chief Nikolai Yezhov who implemented Stalin’s directive.
 
But after less than a month on display, the Ministry of Culture asked the Tumanyan museum to shutter the exhibit. The museum’s director, Narine Tukhikyan, said the ministry appeared to be acting under pressure from “circles which might include communists, or representatives of a generation with an ancient, stereotypical way of thinking.”
 

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Armenia: Activists Cry Censorship as Government Shuts Down Stalinism Exhibit

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