A glimpse: 2 April 2021


What an awful picture,” writes Alexander Recoubratsky. “An elderly man in handcuffs, surrounded by guards. This is no villain but the historian Yury Dmitriev who found the burial places of Stalin’s victims in Karelia as he is led to yet another, dishonourable trial. He has already spent almost five years in prison.” (Photo, Natalia Dyomina.)

Same charges, same court

For a third time Yury DMITRIEV is on trial in Petrozavodsk, before a different judge and prosecutor. There has been a second attempt to replace Yury DMITRIEV’s defence attorney Victor Anufriev.

On Friday, 2 April 2021, the third trial of Yury Dmitriev was resumed at the Petrozavodsk City Court (the proceedings were halted for several months while the Third Cassation Court in St Petersburg considered the case). Two times the Karelian High Court has rejected favourable verdicts by the court in Petrozavodsk and returned the charges for re-examination.

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Today in St Petersburg

Appeal hearing at the Third Cassation Court

The appeal against the September ruling of the Karelian High Court will be heard by the Third Cassation Court in St Petersburg today. The 45-minute hearing begins at 11.15 am and the media will be admitted.

This hearing concerns the many procedural violations committed by the High Court of Karelia during its re-consideration of the “light” (3.5 year) sentence issued by the Petrozavodsk City Court in July last year. Dmitriev’s quietly determined and highly competent defence attorney Victor Anufriev will be present, as he was not during the High Court hearings in September 2020; Yury DMITRIEV himself will not be there.

Victor Anufriev

It is hoped that a court outside Karelia will prove more able to reach decisions based on law and not be influenced by extra-judicial pressure. In confirmation of the unreliability of Karelia’s highest court [which we now refer to as the High, not the Supreme, Court of Karelia] the appeal by the legal firm whom Judge Khomyakova tried to appoint in place of Anufriev, Dmitriev’s lawyer since late 2016, was not upheld by the High Court last week.

Terminology

This website has been in existence since September 2017. While the terminology used here is, for the most part, established and widely used two terms have now been changed.

A foster daughter

The unfortunate child at the centre of the charges brought against Yury DMITRIEV has often been described as his “adopted” daughter.

Russian procedures in this respect differ from those in the West and they have further changed since late 2016 during the course of the investigation and trials of Dmitriev. It is more accurate to characterise the precarious official and legal relationship between Yury Dmitriev and Natasha since 2008 by describing her as his foster daughter.

the High Court

Until now the highest court in the Republic of Karelia, one of the 83 subjects of the Russian Federation, has been described as that administrative region’s “Supreme” Court.

There is, however, a Supreme Court in Moscow with jurisdiction over all the 83 subjects of the federation. It will be less confusing, as the Dmitriev case and the successive verdicts passed in Karelia are examined at a higher level, to reserve the adjective Supreme for the court based in Moscow and, henceforth, refer to the court on 27 Kirov St. in Petrozavodsk as the High Court of Karelia.

Above the Supreme Court stands the Constitutional Court in St Petersburg. And since 1998 a further court of appeal has existed outside Russia, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. How far along this judicial sequence the Dmitriev case progresses before justice is done remains to be seen.

Attacking the Defence

There are a growing number of court hearings in Petrozavodsk associated with the Dmitriev case. On Monday, 25 January 2021, for instance, there will be a hearing at the High Court of Karelia that has no direct relation to Yury DMITRIEV or the charges brought against him. It is directly linked, however, to the methods used by the judicial system in the Karelian Republic to exact vengeance on the inconvenient historian. To be more exact, this court hearing will be an attempt to take issue with those methods.

A new defence lawyer?

On 17 November 2020, Judge Yekaterina Khomyakova tried to assign a new defence attorney to Yury Dmitriev. There was no legal logic to her action. It would have replaced Victor Anufriev who has led Dmitriev’s defence for the past four years.

The Petrozavodsk Embankment (photo, Galkova)

Judge Khomyakova sent a notice to the Fleganov & Partners law firm, requesting it to represent Dmitriev. It turned down her offer. To accept would have infringed the Statute on the Order for Participation in Cases of Defence Attorneys appointed by the Court. Alexander Fleganov refused the offer on behalf of his firm. There followed Judge Khomyakova’s individual ruling, which she sent to the Petrozavodsk bar association, about a violation supposedly committed by Fleganov & Partners. Alexander Fleganov appealed against this ruling, and it is his appeal that will be heard today by the High Court of Karelia.

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