RF Supreme Court to re-examine Dmitriev case

In late June this year Yury DMITRIEV submitted an appeal to the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation. On 30 June it was officially registered by the court.

Yury Dmitriev at home in 2018, after a year in Remand Centre [SIZO] No. 1 (photo, Anna Artyemeva)

On 31 August, the last day on which such a complaint may be re-examined in accordance with existing legislation (Criminal-Procedural Code, Article 401.10, pt 4), the Supreme Court announced via its website that it had requested the case materials and previous rulings in order to carry out such a re-examination.

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Papa’s feeling better

In a post today on Facebook Katerina Klodt writes that she visited Yury DMITRIEV yesterday at Karelia’s detention centre No. 1 in Petrozavodsk and says he’s feeling better:

“As always, he isn’t used to complaining. Sends his best to everyone and says not to lose heart,” she writes, adding “we had a very good conversation.”

Sandarmokh, 5 August 2021

Today an extraordinary resource, “Russia’s Necropolis of Terror and the Gulag“, compiled by Petersburg Memorial’s Research & Information Centre (and released in 2016), has been launched in an English version. What follows is an excerpt from that website’s account of Sandarmokh.

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[…] Historians believe that a considerable proportion of those executed in Karelia were shot at Sandarmokh. A transport of 1,111 prisoners from the Solovki Special Prison were brought from the White Sea to the clearing and shot there between 27 October and 4 November 1937.

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First Discoveries, 1988-1991

The first time Yury DMITRIEV came across the unmarked remains of those shot during the Great Terror was in 1988, as he describes in My Path to Golgotha (pt 2). The immediate reaction since the 1950s was to cover up these bones and skulls with their tell-tale bullet holes. Now activists and relatives of those arrested and shot resisted such wilful and enforced amnesia.

As the “Map of Memory” compiled by St Petersburg Memorial’s Research & Information Centre records, the remains found on the outskirts of Petrozavodsk were gathered and reburied in one of the city’s no longer used graveyards.

The Zaretskoe Graveyard, Petrozavodsk

“… human remains were discovered during excavations near the Sulazhgorsky brickworks on the outskirts of Petrozavodsk,” says the Map of Memory. “With the help of the Karelian Memorial Society, the pits were opened and the remains of between 200 and 700 people — reports vary — were uncovered. It was established that those executed by the NKVD during the Great Terror (1937-1938) were buried here. “Soon a similar burial was discovered near the Besovets settlement, not far from Petrozavodsk. The remains of more than 200 people were found there … . They were reburied in the Zaretskoe cemetery in Petrozavodsk which had been closed for further burial. The reburial took place on 30 October 1991.”

Remains of this kind lay scattered and concealed across the Soviet Union: at least 740,000 were executed between August 1937 and October 1938. It was also a subject avoided in many families. In My Path to Golgotha Dmitriev tells how and when he discovered more about the past of his own (adoptive) family. While his mother’s father was shot during the Terror, his paternal grandfather was arrested in 1938 and died in the camps. “Papa only confessed this to me in 1991 when we were coming back from the first funeral I organised for the victims of repression.” That funeral was the reburial at the Zaretskoe Graveyard late in 1991.

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