Memory Wars?

A lengthy article about the POW execution theory in Russia’s Kommersant newspaper (7 September 2018) is even-handed and thorough. It needs little more than the following passage, however, to show the “new hypothesis of Karelian historians” for what it is:

“Officially, there is no data to show that the Finns carried out mass executions at Sandarmokh. Mr Verigin also confirmed for us that Finland has not transferred any information to Russia about sites where shot POWs are buried in Karelia. The historian further confirmed to Kommersant that he has not yet examined Finland’s historical archives”.

Bodies of 5 Soviet POWs, supposedly, at Sandarmokh (Sergei Markelov)

Five bodies are discovered, allegedly Soviet POWs shot by the Finns in 1941-1944 (photo, Sergei Markelov)

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“Will we fight?” asked Yury Dmitriev. “Yes!” I answered

What evidence did the investigators present in court, for the court to adopt custody as the measure of restraint for your client?

Today the Petrozavodsk City Court granted the petition of the investigator, supported by the prosecutor’s office, and remanded Yury Dmitriev in custody until 28 August.

anufriev

If you ask what the grounds for this decision were, I believe there were no grounds because there was no evidence whatsoever in the case materials that the investigator brought to court that Yury Dmitriev had done what was said. Grounds for suspicion, in other words, were not established today. Moreover, as always, the standard phrases were pronounced: “he might hide from the investigation”, “he might influence the victim”, “he might leave the country, because he has applied for a foreign travel passport”.

Dmitriev’s lawyer, Victor Anufriev, talks to Zoya Svetova about the new criminal case.

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Dmitriev re-arrested

YURY DMITRIEV has been arrested less than two weeks after a court ordered his retrial on gravely flawed charges, reports Halya Coynash. He was stopped by police in Karelia after leaving Petrozavodsk to visit the grave of a friend who died just before his first arrest.

The renowned historian and head of the Karelia branch of the Memorial Society was officially detained for going outside Petrozavodsk in breach of the signed undertaking to remain in the city he gave when released from custody in January this year. In fact, the manner in which NTV, one of Russia’s worst propaganda media, appears to have had a photographer at the scene and swiftly reported that he had been stopped while trying to flee the country, arouses the suspicion that this may all have been part of an operation to get Dmitriev imprisoned again.

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“I love with you all my heart”: Yury Dmitriev’s Final Word in court

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.”

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On the eve of a verdict

Halya Coynash

A verdict is due on Thursday, 5 April 2018, in the trial of YURY DMITRIEV, world-renowned Russian historian and head of the Karelia branch of the Memorial Society.

City Courthouse, Petrozavodsk, 2018

Petrozavodsk City Courthouse (photo, Kerstin Kronvall)

The prosecution has demanded a 9-year sentence, despite even the expert assessments ordered by the court dismissing the charges. This deeply flawed case differs from many politically-motivated trials, however, in that the outcome is still not clear. A guilty verdict on Thursday afternoon will signal a new descent for Russia into its Soviet past.

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Prosecutor demands 9-year sentence for Yury Dmitriev

The Serbsky Institute, the organisation which Prosecutor Askerova requested to assess Dmitriev’s mental state and the nine supposedly pornographic photos, effectively demolished the prosecution case, by declaring that the photos had no sexual content or purpose and that Dmitriev was himself normal mentally.

Askerova, Yelena (Petrozavodsk city prosecutor)

Yelena ASKEROVA, Petrozavodsky City Prosecutor since 2012

In her closing statement, however, Yelena Askerova demanded that YURY DMITRIEV be found guilty as charged and given a 9-year setence of imprisonment.

On Thursday, 22 March, the defence will make its closing statement and the judge will withdraw to consider her verdict.

Closing statements on 20 and 22 March

“I know it will be difficult to put together a support group three times at the Petrozavodsk courthouse, so I consulted Victor Anufriev,” wrote Daniil Saksonov on 10 March. Dmitriev’s lawyer said that the hearing on 14 March would “not be very important”, just an additional examination of one witness.

The following Tuesday, 20 March, marks the beginning of the closing statements by prosecution and defence and it would be important that people came to Petrozavodsk on that day. “Let’s try to make it!” wrote Saksonov who lectures at the Moscow Film School. “Getting away from Moscow or St Petersburg is not easy, but let’s get together. Please send us a message if you can come.

“We’re hoping that Yury Alexeyevich [Dmitriev] will lead another excursion for visitors around memorial sites near Petrozavodsk (most probably to Krasny Bor).”

Facebook, 10 March 2018

Only three hearings to go?

“It’s very important to gather people for the last three hearings, we hope, at the Petrozavodsk city courthouse,” wrote Daniil Saksonov on 2 March. The court would again hear the Dmitriev case on Wednesday, 14 March, and on Tuesday and Thursday, 20 and 22 March, respectively.

“It would be a pity, you must agree, if the corridors were full of sympathisers at all the court hearings hitherto and now, when we’re in the home straight, they were suddenly empty. Especially since a wonderful opportunity has appeared to spend some time with YURY ALEXEYEVICH [Dmitriev] after the hearing. On Wednesday, 14 March, for instance, he will guide people around the Krasny Bor memorial complex. Events are being arranged for the other two days, as well.

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“Scoundrels thought up this case” (Chudakova)

After her journey from Moscow to Petrozavodsk to express her support for Yury Dmitriev, the redoutable literary specialist MARIETTA CHUDAKOVA found time to give a public lecture on Memory, history textbooks and how “the present generation of idiots” in Russia was raising the next …

She also responded to questions from the media, as is now the custom,  in the courthouse corridor. Karelia’s State Radio & Televion Company did not include her words, however, in that evening’s news broadcast.

in Russian (English summary
or translation available presently)

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