Who wants to rewrite the history of Sandarmokh—and why?

Since its discovery in 1997, Sandarmokh has become a place of pilgrimage for the descendants of those killed in Stalin’s Great Terror, for local villagers, for historians and for public figures. An International Day of Remembrance has been held at Sandarmokh every year since then, attended by delegations from various parts of Russia and from abroad.

The “new” hypothesis

Yet in 2016, almost twenty years on, certain Petrozavodsk historians announced that, in addition to those shot in the 1930s, Soviet POWs might have been killed and buried at Sandarmokh during the “Continuation War” with Finland (1941-1944). This suggestion prompted a great debate among academics and was reported in both Russian and Finnish media.  Prospectors, historians, and public figures who had been closely involved in locating, studying and publicising the story of Sandarmokh were bewildered. What new documents had now appeared? Where could they study these declassified papers? The authors of the sensational claim were in no hurry to publish their sources and the atmosphere surrounding the memorial complex grew increasingly tense.

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A few suggestions

To followers of the “Dmitriev Affair” [R] Facebook page

Yury Dmitriev is now in Moscow, in custody (temporarily) at Butyrka Prison. He should be transferred after the holidays [on 2 January] to the Serbsky Institute where he will undergo the examination scheduled by the court.

Тhis procedure is expected to take 30 days. The final decision reached by the court will depend on the objectivity of this [psychiatric] assessment. As everyone realises, there are risks involved. There are also now real prospects that Yury Dmitriev will be released.  Continue reading