Next week, it is expected, the present trial of Yury Dmitriev will come to an end. There are to be an exceptional four consecutive days of hearings between 4 and 7 July.
The validity of the charges will be decided in court. Beyond the courtroom many other matters are of general concern. One is the future of the Sandarmokh Memorial Complex. It is unlikely that any major physical change could be made to this unique memorial, which enjoys protected status from the Karelian government as a place of cultural and historic significance, but during the last two summers teams of diggers from the Russian Military History Society have excavated there.
“This week our podcast is devoted to the historian and head of the branch of Memorial in Karelia, Yury Dmitriev. […] “Our guests are Irina Flige, human rights defender and director of the Memorial Scientific Research Centre (St. Petersburg), Anatoly Razumov, historian and expert on the Stalin-era repressions (also from St. Petersburg), and Andrea Gullotta, a lecturer at Glasgow University and expert on the life and culture of the Gulag. (This podcast is in the Russian language; you can listen to it on Podcasts.com, SoundCloud, Spotify or iTunes.)
Today’s hearing of the DMITRIEV case produced one decision. He has been remanded in custody for a further month when his present term of detention ends on 25 June.
The hope that Yury DMITRIEV, as in April 2018, might again be acquitted at the Tuesday, 16 June hearing prompted me to post a longish survey (over 1,000 words), summarising all the issues surrounding this complex affair: the charges, the fate of Sergei Koltyrin, the “new hypothesis” about Sandarmokh, and so on. There are numerous useful links in the survey to the many posts and pages that have accumulated on this site over the past three years. it’s worth a read.
I ended my piece with the assertion that the Dmitriev Affair would prove as important, in its own way, as the Dreyfus Affair at the turn of the 20th century — for Russia and for the wider world.
And, if you have not already done so, don’t forget to SIGN THE PETITION!
On 16 June 2020, Petrozavodsk City Court in Karelia (Northwest Russia) will announce a verdict in Yury Dmitriev’s second trial, which began two years ago. If convicted, the 64-year-old historian and researcher into Stalin-era crimes could face up to 15 years in one of Russia’s crowded and unhealthy penal colonies.
If acquitted, Dmitriev will be freed from custody in a prison system affected, like the rest of the country, by a constant spreading of Covid-19.