“Society must become more humane”, Alexander Arkhangelsky to President Putin

On 21 December literary critic ALEXANDER ARKHANGELSKY spoke, at a meeting of the Council on Culture and Art with the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, about the pressure being put on cultural figures and the need to humanise Russian culture and society.

“If such things take place at the federal level, in the glare of publicity, it’s not surprising that in places further from our national media the same kind of thing is happening. It is now one year that Yury Dmitriev, an outstanding historian, the author of classic works about Solovki, has been kept in detention, awaiting a verdict in his trial.

“The court – and this is a rare instance – rejected the results of the expert assessment that seemed to confirm his guilt. The case materials were again sent not to State institutions for expert evaluation, however, but to semi-private companies – a second time, let me emphasise.”

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Happier Times

Yury Dmitriev‘s beloved Alsatian Vedma (Witch) died a while back. He himself, as we know, has spent over a year in the Petrozavodsk Detention Centre. During that time he and his foster daughter have not seen one another.

Among the dozens of New Year’s greetings sent to Katerina Klodt via the Russian supporters’ page on Facebook, one simply remembered and named a person at the centre of this whole dreadful case:

“Dearest Katya! May God restore your family to you, and may Papa and Natasha return home …”

footage from Jessica Gorter‘s 2017 film “Red Soul” (De Rode Ziel) of Dmitriev, Witch and Natasha.

Yury Dmitriev was arrested at his apartment in Petrozavodsk on Friday, 13 December 2016, while his wife was at the hospital and Natasha was at school. Natasha was picked up by the Child Protection Agency and today lives with her natural grandmother.

Can we expect a Year of Compassion?

“The past twelve months have been difficult and for many, and in many ways, it has not a compassionate year,” writes ANATOLY RAZUMOVSKY in a New Year’s Greeting on the Books of Remembrance website.

“In addition, it was a year of woeful anniversaries.

“One hundred years since Russian history was derailed [October 1917], since the creation of Soviet punitive agencies [December 1917] and the transition to Lenin’s Red Terror. It was also eighty years since Stalin’s Great Terror [1937-1938].  Continue reading

Letters and Parcels

YURY DMITRIEV is already at the Serbsky Centre in Moscow. Several people, including his son, have been quick to take him a food parcel there — good for him and his morale, and helpful in making friends inside.

food parcel for Dmitriev (Serbsky Institute)

What Victoria Ivleva took Dmitriev

Photojournalist Victoria Ivleva took a lemon, mandarins, butter, toilet paper, cigarettes, cheese, sugar, speck, biscuits, salami and sweets.

Some were worried that letters sent to Petrozavodsk or cards (one from Botswana in southern Africa!) would not now reach Yury Alexeyevich. His daughter Katerina Klodt put their minds at rest.

Yesterday, she went to Detention Centre No 1 in Petrozavodsk where her father spent the last year and was given a bag full of undelivered mail. When she got home, she promptly took a photo and posted it online …

Letters and cards to Yury Dmitriev