Official Western responses

In July 2017 Deliya Meylanova contacted her Member of Parliament, Catherine West, about the trial of Yury Dmitirev. In turn Catherine West (Labour) wrote to SIR ALAN DUNCAN, a Conservative MP at the Foreign Office. On 13 September, Duncan sent his fellow MP a reply:

Foreign Office letter about Dmitriev, 15 September 2017

Letter from Sir Alan Duncan, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, to Catherine West, MP

Source: Deliya Meylanova, Facebook;
posted 31 October 2017, on «Дело Дмитриева»


Dear Catherine

Thank you for your letter of 23 August to the Foreign Secretary [Boris Johnson] on behalf of your constituent, Ms Deliya Meylanova of London, regarding the case of Yuriy Dmitriev. I am replying as Minister for Europe and the Americas.

We are aware of the charges brought against Mr Dmitriev, and of concerns that these may be politically motivated. Whilst we cannot comment on an ongoing legal case (I understand that an additional hearing has been scheduled for 15 September) please be assured that we are following developments very closely, together with our international partners in country [i.e. in Russia].

More widely we remain concerned about the independence of the judiciary and the application of the rule of law in Russia, and we continue to publicly raise our concerns about high profile cases where appropriate.

Yours ever


Right Honourable Sir Alan Duncan MP


Almost five months earlier, the US MISSION to Russia [i.e. the American Embassy] voiced its concerns about the  Dmitriev case. On 31 May 2017, the day before the trial began in Petrozavodsk, it issued the following statement:

“The U.S. Mission to Russia is concerned by what appear to be politically-motivated criminal charges against prominent human rights activist and historian Yury Dmitriev. Mr. Dmitriev is a respected historian whose work has been instrumental in uncovering mass burial sites and founding the Sandarmokh Memorial Complex in Karelia.

We call on Russia to transparently uphold the rule of law and respect human rights and fundamental freedoms enshrined in the [1948] Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We also call on Russia to respect its international human rights obligations, including those related to the prohibition on arbitrary arrest or detention and respect for fair trial guarantees.”