In early July 1997, DMITRIEV together with Irina Flige and the late Veniamin Joffe discovered a huge killing field of the Great Terror near Medvezhegorsk in Karelia. Subsequently it became known as Sandarmokh.
Weeks later, in early September, he and Sergei Chugunkov identify the Krasny Bor killing field and burial ground not far from Petrozavodsk, the capital of Karelia.
At the High Court hearing on 22 September in Petrozavodsk, Judge Alla Rats requested another expert assessment of the photographs on Yury DMITRIEV’s home computer that formed the pretext for his arrest on 13 December 2016.
As part of the new investigation, Yury Dmitriev was sent to Hospital No 6 in St Petersburg where psychiatrists have been determining whether he is fit to stand trial and has not taken leave of his senses …
Despite repeated forensic analysis to the contrary, the Russian historian has spent 13 months in pre-trial detention on child pornography charges (writes Natalia Shkurenok).
On 27 March 2018, the final hearing was held in the prosecution of Russian historian and rights defender YURY DMITRIEV. Dmitriev, who has been instrumental in investigating Karelia’s Gulag past, was arrested in December 2016 and charged with producing child pornography, the evidence for which consisted of naked photographs of his adopted daughter.
Yesterday, Dmitriev was given the right to make a final statement before the court, after which the judge left to make a decision. The doors of Room 322 at Petrozavodsk City Court remained closed for 10 minutes. As Yury Dmitriev told the people waiting outside afterwards, instead of a long speech in his defence, he read a short letter from his adopted daughter Natasha.
“Dear Dad, I really miss you!
I hope that they release you soon. Everything is fine with me, I’m studying well. I wish you a belated happy birthday! How are things with you? Write when you can.
I love you with all my heart, your daughter Natasha.”
Russia’s Serbsky Institute has rejected any grounds for the charges against YURY DMITRIEV, renowned historian and Head of the Karelia branch of the Memorial Society.
Even an institute notorious for its use of punitive psychiatry in Soviet times was not willing to take part in the politically motivated attempt to imprison Dmitriev for up to 15 years and stated clearly that the historian “is not a paedophile”. The result comes after Dmitriev spent 13 months in detention on charges that aroused concern far beyond his native Karelia.