"How is he?" you ask. "In fine spirits"

“28 January 2020 marked the fourth birthday Yury DMITRIEV has spent in captivity,” writes his friend Anatoly Razumov. “I was given permission, together with his daughter Katya to visit him.

Yury Dmitriev (left) and Anatoly Razumov

“In Petrozavodsk that same day we launched Yury’s new book Sandormokh: A Place of Memory.

Copies of the book were handed out to the families of those executed and were also presented: to the National Library in St Petersburg; to the national archives and national musum of Karelia; to Petrozavodsk University; to the Medvezhegorsk museum and library; and, naturally, to all Yury’s magnificent supporters. The historian Irina Takala spoke.

“What can I say about our visit to the detention centre?

“Hi there, shaggyhead!” With his close-cropped hair he was poking fun.

I passed on greetings from Natalya Solzhenitsyn. Then we had a good chat — about books, grandchildren and friends. We discussed how the book launch had gone in Moscow and St Petersburg.

Yura is on very good form, both physically and in terms of his morale. And I can quite understand why. It’s owing to all the letters, your letters, and the opportunity to respond to what you write.

“Thank you, friends.

“Anatoly Razumov”

31 January 2020,
Their Names Restored website

NOTES

Natalya Solzhenitsyn, widow of the writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008), spoke out in support of Dmitriev during his first trial, describing him as “a most honourable man”.

Anatoly Razumov has worked for many years at the National Library in St Petersburg, building up a unique archive “Their Names Restored“. In addition to the victims of the Gulag and the Great Terror, this extensive collection of printed and online Books of Remembrance covers losses during the war (1941-1945) and the many months Leningrad was then blockaded.