The bodies of victims of Stalinist purges found in a mass grave during the construction of a road near the Russian Far Eastern town of Vladivostok will be reburied, a Russian Orthodox Church spokesman said on Thursday.
The construction of a road near Vladivostok came to a halt after workers discovered a mass grave in its path. Historians concluded the dead could have starved or been worked to death.
In the early 20th century a military graveyard and White Guard concentration camp were located in the area, where shootings occurred during the times of the Stalinist purges.
"Every contrite person regards it as inconceivable to leave the bodies of the deceased unburied. The Holy Bible says: '...you return to the ground; for out of it were you taken: for dust you are, and to dust shall you return," the spokesman for the Primorye Orthodox Diocese said.
Russian Orthodox Church clergy, local officials and the construction companies have set up a commission on reburying the remains.
"The fate of thousands of disturbed souls is at stake," the commission statement said, adding that it would ensure that the bodies find "a worthy end to their posthumous fate."
During the Stalinist purges millions of people were executed on fake charges of espionage, sabotage, anti-Soviet propaganda or died of starvation, disease or exposure in Gulag labor camps in Siberia and the Far East. According to official statistics, 52 million were convicted on political charges during Stalin's regime.
VLADIVOSTOK, April 15 (RIA Novosti)