Builders renovating a Moscow house have unearthed more than 30 bodies apparently dating back to the era of Josef Stalin’s political purges.
Police also found a rusted pistol on the estate where the remains of an estimated 34 people were found, some with gunshots to the head, a city police spokesman said.
The bodies were found under a basement in one of the estate’s buildings in central Moscow, about midway between Red Square and the Lubyanka, the headquarters of the KGB, where political prisoners were interrogated and executions carried out.
In the 1930s the Soviet Union experienced a wave of politically motivated killings and purges of the government and Communist Party orchestrated by Stalin’s secret police.
The killings reached their apex in 1937 during what came to be known as the Great Terror.
An estimated 1.7 million people were arrested in 1937-38 by the security services alone, and at least 818,000 of them were shot, historians estimate.