The significance of Sandarmokh

In March 2017 Anna Yarovaya wrote a long article about the Dmitriev Affair for the 7×7 news website. Among those whose words she then recorded was Irina FLIGE, director of the Memorial Research Centre in St Petersburg and one of those who, with Yury DMITRIEV, discovered Sandarmokh in July 1997:

Irina Flige (RFI)

Irina Flige

“Sandarmokh is a unique and complete investigation. It is enormously to the credit of Yury DMITRIEV that he gathered together all the documentary information and, as a result, we today know who exactly is buried here. <…>

“Very often when we talk about remembrance at certain historical sites the concepts of History and Memory tend to diverge. They overlap to some extent because there are traditions and legends, but the historical data is incomplete and cannot be used to refute certain legends. Take Levashovo on the outskirts of St Petersburg. If we talk about it as a site of memory and remembrance, then it recalls the Great Terror in Leningrad. If we talk about it in historical terms, much still remains unclear. Of the 19,450 people who lie buried there, we can name only eight thousand. The others are unknown. Sandarmokh is unique in this respect because the names of those linked to this site have been checked and verified.

“This makes Sandarmokh a lever that can be used to shift the history of Russia in the right direction. To leave lies behind and establish what really happened. To give our children the chance of living in a normal country, where the State cannot disregard people and treat them with contempt.

“That is why there is such a terrible fight over Sandarmokh today.

“The scoundrels who are trying to prevent Russia returning to a normal existence will use every method, even the most disgusting. They have not been able to convince us that Yury DMITRIEV is guilty, so they will put pressure on those whose views carry respect concerning particular aspects of the history of Sandarmokh.

“There is only one way forward. We must unite and support one another as strongly as we can, each helping as they know best. We must believe that the truth will triumph. It always wins in the end.

“Most important of all, we must not be afraid. The truth is on our side.”

Irina FLIGE
February 2017

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