Barbaric excavations again under way at Sandarmokh

Rewriting the history of the Great Terror

Halya Coynash

New excavations are underway at the Sandarmokh Clearing in Karelia which holds the last remains of thousands of victims of the Great Terror of 1937-1938 [the banner photo of this site shows a view of the Clearing and some of the individual markers erected there by descendants of the victims].

Any pretence that the excavations by a body linked to the Russian Minister of Culture are not aimed at rewriting history has been dispelled by a letter from the Karelian Ministry of Culture. This openly questions the internationally-recognized fact that the mass graves are of victims of the Terror, and, since this “damages Russia’s international image”, asks for another hypothesis, unbacked by any documentary proof, to be “investigated”.

Military history society excavations (August 2019)

Excavations by Russian Military History Society, August 2019 (photo, 7×7 news website)

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Defence experts cross-examined

On 23 July, in a closed session at the city court in Petrozavodsk, two psychologists were questioned as expert witnesses for the defence in the second Dmitriev trial. Victor Anufriev, the defence attorney, said that their responses were very important for the case.

It was the third time the experts have made the journey north from Moscow and the first time they were called to testify.

“I can tell you the following,” said Anufriev to the 7×7 correspondent. “Today at the request of the defence expert psychologists from Moscow were questioned in court. I do not wish to name them. They gave their opinion and assessment of the procedural documents with which I provided them. I asked them questions and they gave answers.

“Let me add that the trial has not ended. It will continue on 3 September this year.”

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Moscow picket

Moscow picket, 23 July

Yesterday I stood with those picketing Putin’s administration in support of Yury Dmitriev.

Looking at the photos I took it seems that children, if anyone, are taking notice of the placards. Adults also look but many give only a furtive glance or are afraid — or don’t give a damn. But the children read the words.

Natalia Demina
Facebook, Dmitriev Supporters’ page

Moscow

What is going on?

The other day the latest hearing in the new trial of Yury DMITRIEV took place. It has been six weeks since the Petrozavodsk City Court, in closed regime, heard more evidence from the prosecution.

This time round, clearly, there is no rush to convict and, it would seem, a preference for people elsewhere, e.g. supporters in Russia who travel to Karelia to wait outside the courtroom or the courthouse in a demonstration of solidarity, to be denied anything to discuss.

That includes curious foreigners.

True, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov did respond to a question about the case from a Finnish journalist when he was abroad … The reply was not reassuring. More tomorrow.

JC