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
The grandmother of YURY DMITRIEV’s adopted daughter Natasha has appealed to the Supreme Court of Karelia against his acquittal. This was first reported yesterday on the Petrozavodsk Calling [R] website. In a telephone conversation with 7×7, the woman confirmed that she had submitted an appeal to the higher court. She refused to explain why she had done so and put down the phone. Continue reading
A formal appeal was received today by the Petrozavodsk City Court from Yelena Askerova, the city prosecutor. She acted for the prosecution at the trial of YURY DMITRIEV, who was accused of preparing child pornography and the unlawful possession of a firearm. Our website received this information from the court.
Dmitriev, the head of Memorial in Karelia, was found not guilty of the main charges. He was sentenced to 2½ years restricted liberty after being convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm. Taking into account the months he had already spent in custody, the historian was faced with only three more months to serve. During that period, he must report to the prison every fortnight.
13 April 2018
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.
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.