The Progress of the Trial: February 2020

“By 10 February, the prosecution planned, the final words by both sides would have come to an end and a verdict would be delivered,” says Anatoly RAZUMOV, a friend of Yury Dmitriev’s and a member of St Petersburg’s Human Rights Council. “However, the defence had prepared two speakers for that day.

Anatoly Ya. RAZUMOV, National Library, St Petersburg

“In the early 2000s, Professor Victor Kirillov, D.Phil. (History), was in charge of the creation of a unified database of the victims of political repression, the Their Names Restored project [see below]. He arrived by plane having travelled from Yekaterinburg in the Urals via Petersburg in order to testify on behalf of his friend Yury Dmitriev. Now even the President of Russia was suggesting that such a database be created, Kirillov said: a popular initiative was becoming a task for the State. The trial is closed and we can judge what is going on merely by the length of hearing. Victor testified for 40-50 minutes.

“Then the court heard a specialist in children’s issues. She spoke and was questioned the rest of the day, from morning until lunchtime, and after lunch until 5.00 pm. Seemingly, her testimony and explanations impressed the court.

The next hearing is scheduled for 20 February when the defence will call yet more speakers [postponed, due to illness until Monday 23 March]. I consider that the defence had a good day in court. Moreover, my friends Victor and Yury saw one another there.

“On Thursday, 20 February, for the first time, I shall not be at the courthouse in Petrozavodsk. That day I will be in Moscow where I’ve been asked to give two interviews about Dmitriev’s new book: Irina Prokhorova of the New Literary Review (NLO) and Radio “Moscow Speaking”, and the A. Pivovarova Editions.

“We don’t yet know whether Yury Dmitriev has received a copy of Sandarmokh, a Place of Memory. It’s already two weeks ago that Yekaterina, Dmitriev’s daughter, passed the book to his mentor at the Detention Centre. The mentor took the book and expressed amazement: ‘I’ve been working here for three years and you keep bringing in the same book.” Katya explained that this was a new version. If it contained nothing bad, he replied, he’d pass it on.

“When Yura is led along the corridor of the courthouse on 20 February it will be clear whether he has received his book or not. That, for me, is most important of all at the moment.”

entry on supporters’ Facebook page
by St Petersburg Human Rights Council

Their Names Restored, a project developed over the past 20 years at Russia’s National Library in St Petersburg, covers not just the Great Terror or the Gulag, but the Leningrad Blockade and war losses from 1941 to 1945.

The page reproduced here indicates all the sources that have contributed to the project, especially the Books of Remembrance compiled for particular regions of the country or nationalities, and issued as printed volumes or published online.