“The main thing is to pass on what we know”

On 26 December 2021, the day before the hearing, I wrote to Yury DMITRIEV (says Olga Nosenko on Facebook today). I had my doubts. Wasn’t this a silly thing to do? But I posted my letter with no great expectations, sending him New Year’s greetings and the tale of my forbears.

And this is what I received today after DMITRIEV had already heard the new sentence. I’ll quote two excerpts:

“I saw a great many friends but, alas, not everyone. Some were not even allowed into the courthouse. But I was overjoyed to see those who did get in.”

“It’s rare to find a family that did not suffer at the hands of the Bolshevik-Communist regime and mine is no exception.

“My grandfather on my mother’s side dug the White Sea Canal and was released when it went into use. A couple of years later, however, he died. It had caught up with him. My grandfather on my father’s side starved to death in a labour camp in 1938. He too was a peasant.

“So you and I have reason to be concerned for Memorial. On the other hand, the work’s become simpler: we don’t need to keep an eye out for the censor or fear fines. The main thing is to pass on what we know. And whether we do that in an office or working underground is far less important.”

Yury Dmitriev, Detention Centre No 1, Petrozavodsk