Free Yury Dmitriev! (November 2019 Petition)

The following petition has been organised by historian Andrea Gullotta of Glasgow University (Scotland) to support the defense and secure the release of Yury DMITRIEV (Italian text):

Free Yury Dmitriev!

Historian, archaeologist and chronicler of the Gulag and Great Terror

Since the late 1980s, Yury Dmitriev has actively investigated the history of the Gulag in his native Karelia (northwest Russia).

His work on the White Sea Canal, built between 1931 and 1933 by camp prisoners and exiled peasants (“special” settlers), is invaluable and of the highest academic quality. Dmitriev has not simply researched the history of forced labour: he has also compiled several Books of Remembrance, recording the names of thousands who died in the camps or were shot and buried by the Soviet regime in Karelia.

As leader of archaeological expeditions seeking the killing fields of Stalin’s Great Terror, Dmitriev has located several sites of mass execution and burial. In July 1997, with Veniamin Joffe (Iofe) and Irina Flige of St Petersburg Memorial, he found the largest of them all, Sandormokh near Medvezhegorsk, where more than 7,000 victims of Stalin’s Great Terror were shot and buried in unmarked graves in 1937 and 1938.

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“Society must become more humane”, Alexander Arkhangelsky to President Putin

On 21 December literary critic ALEXANDER ARKHANGELSKY spoke, at a meeting of the Council on Culture and Art with the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, about the pressure being put on cultural figures and the need to humanise Russian culture and society.

“If such things take place at the federal level, in the glare of publicity, it’s not surprising that in places further from our national media the same kind of thing is happening. It is now one year that Yury Dmitriev, an outstanding historian, the author of classic works about Solovki, has been kept in detention, awaiting a verdict in his trial.

“The court – and this is a rare instance – rejected the results of the expert assessment that seemed to confirm his guilt. The case materials were again sent not to State institutions for expert evaluation, however, but to semi-private companies – a second time, let me emphasise.”

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Can we expect a Year of Compassion?

“The past twelve months have been difficult and for many, and in many ways, it has not a compassionate year,” writes ANATOLY RAZUMOVSKY in a New Year’s Greeting on the Books of Remembrance website.

“In addition, it was a year of woeful anniversaries.

“One hundred years since Russian history was derailed [October 1917], since the creation of Soviet punitive agencies [December 1917] and the transition to Lenin’s Red Terror. It was also eighty years since Stalin’s Great Terror [1937-1938].  Continue reading

A few suggestions

To followers of the “Dmitriev Affair” [R] Facebook page

Yury Dmitriev is now in Moscow, in custody (temporarily) at Butyrka Prison. He should be transferred after the holidays [on 2 January] to the Serbsky Institute where he will undergo the examination scheduled by the court.

Тhis procedure is expected to take 30 days. The final decision reached by the court will depend on the objectivity of this [psychiatric] assessment. As everyone realises, there are risks involved. There are also now real prospects that Yury Dmitriev will be released.  Continue reading