If a nation does not know its history, if the country loses its history, then its citizens have nowhere to go.
Mirzhakyp Dulatuly

Kostanay convent: the tragedy of 1937

One of the "white" pages in the history of the regional center is the fate of the nuns of Kostanay convent, it is also known as Iberian monastery.

Founded in the late 20th century, it was officially closed in the mid 20s. However, after more than a decade, on the former territory of the monastery was found the traces of ashes in which it was possible to find the remains of religious objects (beads, shiny objects and variety of small ornaments). As well as popular rumor arose that nuns were shot or burned there. Based on materials of officialdocuments, "TC" raise the veil of secrecy. First published in the media will be their names. According to unofficial sources, the Russian Orthodox Church now studying the question of canonization of the Iver monastery nuns.

Convent in Kostanay, the name which "determined to honor the Iberian Icon of the Mother of God", suffered (as believes the famous historian and ethnographer Kostanai Jacob Dukhin )" information blockade."In Kazakhstan in the early last century, there were only two monasteries, one in Kostanay - female, the other in Uralsk - male. On the findings of the ashes of local historians first told Korean special immigrants, who in the late 30s were still kids. According to official data, in place of the former convent of Iver for Logue Kostanay -sai (now a district of the TV tower ), "2-3 km from the north- eastern outskirts of Kustanai" was first created swine state farm "Red Partisan" and then in November-December 1937. There are two farm Koreans deported peasants - "Samir" and " December 5". "Korean" village on the map of Kostanay is still exists today. The monastery is now - "is the TV tower and several backyards nondescript streets, one of which can still be found well-preserved monastery building (now there is a school of technical creativity )".

On the website of "Electronic Library of Orthodoxy" there is evidence (after 1917): "Kostanay Iver monastery convent located in the mountains of Turgay area. Kostanay (Novo- Nikolayev). It was founded in 1894 under the guise of community facing in 1917 in a monastery. Two wooden church and a school. It was managed by abbess, nuns and  17 novices". Further about the fate of the nuns there is no references in open sources. The question arises: Is the truth says a popular rumor that they were all shot in the ever-memorable 1937? It was hard to believe, but in reality the way it turned out.

Only at the beginning of 20th century by the modern historians it became known that in Kostanay in 1937 the  group of participants "anti-Soviet spy organization of clergy" was devoted to the court. A. Karatayev found that in 3-13 September 1937, in Kostanay P.Kosenko (Kosenkov), "the priest of the church cemetery, archpriest, who graduated the Teacher's seminary" was arrested and then shot. In 1929 he was jailed for 3 years in concentration camp for his opposition in closing the convent". Along with him were shot V.Iordanskii, "born in 1888 in Orenburg, graduated religious seminary, archpriest of Kostanay church cemetery".  

At the same time, it was investigated the circumstances of the another massacre. Referring to the published "List of who was shot" in Kostanay region during the Great Terror ("Book of Sorrow"), repeatedly encountered female names (unfortunately, there are no occupation, place of work). There is a question, how women were involved to politics and why they are subject of the highest punishment - execution. Due to the declassification of archival documents it was found out that at that time Christian women were given under the Court. Including the case of "anti-Soviet spy organization of clergy" in Kostanay where 25 nuns were involved.  

Their fate was terrible (not only by modern standards, but also for the violent days). The terrible secret turns out to declassification and discovery of previously unknown archival documents. In a criminal case for archival number 02271 has documents on 8 nuns for number 02489 - another 13 female convicts. Four held in other cases. However, for each of them was given the standard punishment that she "was a member of an underground anti-Soviet organization of churchmen held defeatist propaganda, spread rumors about the fall of the Soviet regime. "Everyone who was sentenced to death, the case involved a clarification: "Shoot with confiscation of her personal property and belonging. "At this time many of the prisoners had their own homes and apartments.

In 1937, 24 nuns were killed (four, including the head in October 21, 20 and all the other women literally in one day in November 23, 1937). In the document it sounded ominously: "October 18, 1937 by the NKVD troika Kostanay region decided: / ... / shoot with confiscation of her personal property and belonging. The judgment was carried out October 21, 1937. " Only date were changed (strictly a difference of three days between the adoption of regulations and its enforcement). Only one defendant in December 1937 was sent to the camp ( sentenced for 10 years in labor camp), but then the same in the beginning of 1938 the NKVD, her case back for further investigated and also gave the execution.

In criminal cases of seven defendants the work position was marked as - "nun" or "schema-nun" (this is the highest monastic degree). Three of them after the Civil War were exiled to Kostanay. Two Christian women were from the St.Sergius and Lebedinsk convents (since before the Revolution). Only one of them was born in Kostanay (the name of the district and region are given at the time of arrest).

Dossier. "Danilova Anna Ivanovna, 1897, born in Boris- Romanovka (Kostanay district of Kostanay region), Russian, citizen of the USSR, from the middle peasants, competent , since 1910 - a nun convent, before arrest in November 2, 1937 worked as a nurse in a children's clinic, lived at Kostanay, Lenin Street, house № 70 and had the following composition of the family: sister, Catherine  (age unknown), lived together, sister, Olga, 22 years old, lived in Boris - Romanovka, sister, Agatha, 15 years old, lived in Boris - Romanovka. "Additional personal data, including previous convictions, only aggravated" in 1929 was convicted of bread shelter to 10 years, 8 months left for punishment."

In the remaining six cases it was noted that they were from the Russian hinterland .

Dossier. "Kryukov Kreskentiya Terentievna, 1864, born in Large Malyshevka Samara province, Russian, citizen of the USSR, of burghers, competent, since 1883 - a nun ( schema-nun of convent), before his arrest November 2, 1937 lived at Kostanay, Komsomolskaya Street, house № 191. "In case you see the  "brother squandered Terent'evich Kryukov, lived in the city of Magnitogorsk".

Dossier. "Davydova Fedosiya Pavlovna, 1880, born in Verinka Trinity Chelyabinsk region, Russian, Soviet citizen, literate, daughter of a priest, in 1900 - a nun, before his arrest November 2, 1937 lived at Kostanay, Red Plowman Street, house number 80, with her mother Elena Andreevna".

Dossier. "Evdokia M. Zakharov, 1887, born in Jablonec Yamburskogo district of Leningrad region, Russian, citizen of the USSR, of the peasants, competent, since 1911 - a nun, before his arrest November 2, 1937 worked as a nurse hospital Lenin, lived in Kostanay, Kalinin Street house №149".

Dossier. "Mushkarina Evdokia Ivanovn, 1889, a native of Lithuania on Zhabinskii parish Krasnoslobodsky County Penza province, Russian, citizen of the USSR, of the peasants, illiterate, since 1907 - a nun, before his arrest November 2, 1937 worked as a nurse in hospital named after Lenin in 1935, lived at Kostanay, May 1 Street, house № 106, with his father Mushkarinym Ivan".

Dossier. "Olga Gerasimovna Zotov, 1875, a native of the province of Perm, Russian, citizen of the USSR, from the peasants, uneducated, nun for 15 years, before his arrest, August 28, 1937 worked as a nurse himbaklaboratorii, lived in the city with his brother Kostanay Zotov Paul".

Dossier. "Vodyasova Praskovja V.,1877, born in Brand Penza province, Mordvinian, a citizen of the USSR, from the peasants, competent, a nun, before his arrest October 14, 1937 lived at Kostanay, Kalinina Street, 120".

Two women in the pre-revolutionary period (the specified dates - 1890 and 1899) were nuns of Sergius and Lebedinsk convent, which in the early 1930s exiled to Kostanay. In the criminal case number 02271 held "Balduk (Bajdukov) Zinaida Porfirevna, born in 1873, in Bashtanka Kharkov province, Ukrainian, citizen of the USSR, of the peasants, competent, since 1890 - Sergius convent nun, exile, before her arrest, August 28, 1937 lived at Kustanai, Lenin Street, № 70. "Of archival materials of the criminal case number 02489 should be: "Gadetskaya Varvara, 1886, born in Bashtanka Odessa region, Ukrainian, citizen of the USSR, from the burghers, 1899 - Lebedinsk nun of convent exile (in 1930, sentenced to 3 years in exile), before his arrest, November 2, 1937 lived at Kustanai, Lenin Street, house number 70".

In fact only one Christian woman was not explicitly stated that she was a nun in the past (but based on indirect evidence and it was). Snegireva Maria Ivanovna, 1887 Birth, Ukrainian, accused that "anti-Soviet group was a member of the clergy and illegal assembly, where farmers were processed in the anti-Soviet, anti-Soviet led defeatist propaganda". She was shot in the first group with the main leaders - November 21, 1937.

To be continued ...

Dmitry Legkii

Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor of Kostanay state university named after  A.Baitursynov.

Photography Regional History Museum .

The author grateful for all provided documents and assistance of Cherdabaevu Aliyu Bagitzhanovnu, the staff  of the Special State Archives Department KNB RK Kostanay region.