From a public appeal to Mikhail Gorbachev from Sergei Grigoryants, publisher of the independent Soviet magazine Glasnost:

The death of millions of Russians, Ukrainians, Latvians and Uzbeks during, before and after the years of Stalin's terror is one of the most horrible eras in world history and one of humanity's most painful lessons.

These people are not dying today -- they died long ago. But their memory is being destroyed, along with one of the few hopes that the past will not repeat itself.

Out of the tens of millions of investigations and verdicts by "two-people commissions," "three-people commissions" and the "Special Commission" that have been destroyed in the archives of provincial and territorial courts and in the offices of procurators and of the KGB in the 1960s and 1970s, the last few hundred thousand remained in the Special Archives. In the next few years their destruction will be completed.

Historians were virtually never given access to all of these cases (only specially trusted investigators had access when it was required), and many of the cases have remained unstudied and even unread.

I appeal to you, the general secretary of the CPSU Central Committee, immediately {to} prevent the destruction of the last crumbs of memory of the millions of our fathers and grandfathers who were tortured and who died in innocence.

. . . I ask everyone . . . to appeal to the leadership of the Soviet Union to stop the barbaric destruction of these documents and to allow historians to study what little has remained in the archives. Otherwise there is no hope that we will avoid another age of Stalinism.