One of the last interviews Sergei KOLTYRIN, the arrested director of the Medvezhegorsk district museum, gave was to Nastoyashchee vremya, the online TV channel:
(Excerpts from a longer text on the website)
“The death of a person’s reputation is perhaps worse than being actually murdered. After such allegations, the person carries on but with great difficulty. It’s hard to live and not everyone can survive such an upheaval in their lives.
“When we speak about Sandarmokh, we must not forget the people at the time when this vile treatment began, and “undesirables” were eliminated. The free-thinkers, those who thought differently to others, who spoke in a different way and did things differently – they were awkward and undesirable [for the regime].
Yury DMITRIEV was first arrested on 13 December 2016, a date that marks the formal beginning of The Dmitriev Affair. Its roots go deeper and further back in time, naturally.
Over two years earlier, at the annual Day of Remembrance at Sandarmokh on 5 August, Dmitriev made critical comments about the annexation of Crimea and events in eastern Ukraine. In a long interview in 2015 Dmitriev alluded to official pressure and obstruction that was making him consider leaving the country (“If I stay here [in Russia] everything will be lost.”)
The “new hypothesis” that Soviet POWs were buried at Sandarmokh, so prominent today, made its first appearance in an article in Izvestiya in July 2016 [R], five months before Dmitriev was arrested.
Much that is happening now, in other words, was prefigured by earlier events and the previous trial and acquittal.
Contributors to the Dmitriev Affair Facebook page have been looking back to the first arrest and investigation of Yury Dmitriev, between December 2016 and March 2017, and re-reading the articles and reports published then.
On this website, individual reports in English (and in Russian) can be found, month by month, on the Timeline of the first trial. Four key articles summarising the main stages of the first trial and acquittal have now been gathered together. They were written by Halya Coynash to whom we are all indebted for her regular reporting and grasp of the legal and judicial nuances of the proceedings in Petrozavodsk. (A contributor to the Human Rights in Ukraine website, based in Kharkiv, she covers events in Russia, Poland and elsewhere.)
4 October 2018
On Thursday the Supreme Court of Karelia decided not to change the measure of restraint imposed on Yury DMITRIEV after he was charged with new offences, reports the Interfax news agency. His lawyers had challenged the decision of the Petrozavodsk City Court on 21 August to extend his detention in custody for a further three months.
His lawyer Victor Anufriev argued that Dmitriev presented no flight risk and, in view of his age and circumstances, could instead be kept under house arrest. The judges of the Supreme Court decided differently.
Novaya gazeta, 20 September 2018
YURY DMITRIEV was due to be released from the Petrozavodsk Detention Centre on Sunday, 28 January. Unexpectedly, he arrived home early on Saturday. Anna Yarovaya went to visit him immediately, to learn the details of his release and his plans for the future. Continue reading
On April 10, the judge of Petrozavodsk City Court Anton Levkin extended the imprisonment of the historian Yury Dmitriev for a month. He will remain in custody until May 12, as reported by the “7×7” journalist. On the same day, there was one more court session regarding the Dmitriev’s case, where the investigator’s motion for limiting the time of intake screening process was examined.
During a joint meeting with the Human Rights Council of Karelia SERGEI KRIVENKO, a member of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, announced that members of the Council’s “Standing Committee on Precedents” are monitoring the case of Yury Dmitriev, head of the Karelian branch of Memorial, against whom pornography charges have been brought.
“What does the Memorial Society have to hide?” The 13-minute report (10 January 2017) on the nationwide Rossiya-24 TV channel in which several of the photographs from the health diary of Dmitriev’s adopted daughter, subsequently assessed to be “pornographic”, were shown.
“Yury Dmitriev is a strong character and has withstood this ordeal with honour. I shall defend him in acordance with the law,” defence attorney VICTOR ANUFRIEV told 7×7 correspondent Alexander Gnetnev.
“Today I do not know whether his actions constitute a crime. He has a simple and rational explanation for what he did: at special courses he attended before adopting his daughter [in 2008] he was recommended to keep a photographic record so that the development of the child could be monitored.
“She came to him in a neglected physical condition. The photographs were stored in his private computer. He showed them to no one; he did not print them out; he did not send them to anyone else.”
(Translation in progress – full Russian text follows)