“The triumph of evil”

Sever Real report by Anna Yarovaya and Yelena Vladykina

The Supreme Court of Karelia has annulled the verdict passed earlier on Yury DMITRIEV by the Petrozavodsk City Court and in place of three years and six months has sentenced him to 13 years imprisonment.

“This is the triumph of evil,” wrote journalist Victoria Ivleva. “13 years in a strict-regime colony is a death sentence.”

(Photo Anton Vaganov, Reuters)

“The Supreme Court of Karelia couldn’t care less what the Petrozavodsk City Court decided, it seems to me,” commented journalist Natalya Dyomina. “That’s surprising. The city court summoned experts while the Supreme Court somehow managed in 2-3 days to examine every aspect of this case, to reach its own understanding and increase the sentence from 3 ½ to 13 years. I don’t understand what happened during those three days,” said Dyomina, who travelled to Petrozavodsk to hear the verdict. “What new facts did they uncover?”

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Can Dmitriev get a fair hearing in Karelia?

Today the Supreme Court of Karelia began its third hearing of the appeals made by Defence and Prosecution following the 22 July verdict in the trial of Yury DMITRIEV. [Previous hearings were held on 16 and 22 September.] At this hearing experts appointed by the court will present a new analysis of the photographs in the case.

It is unusual for a court of the second instance to take so long over its deliberations. More often it reaches a decision after a single sitting.

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The Guardian of History

An Exhibition about YURY DMITRIEV

On 22 August, an exhibition opened in the Chamber Theatre («Петербургский интерьерный театр») at 104 Nevsky Prospect in St Petersburg about the historian and rights activist Yury DMITRIEV, the man who investigated one of the most terrible commemorative sites of the Great Terror, the Sandarmokh Clearing in Karelia.

The organiser was Svetlana Kulchitskaya. She decided to open the exhibition on her own birthday and – how symbolic – it is the date in August 1991 when the people defeated the totalitarian regime. As a result, 22 August has become celebrated as the “Day of the Russian Flag”. (On the walls of the staircase leading up to the Chamber Theatre, incidentally, are photographs dedicated to that memorable day … and to the preceding battles of perestroika in Leningrad [St Petersburg].)

Many spoke at the opening of the exhibition.

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Reading the Names, 5 August 2020. Remembering the victims of Sandarmokh

On Wednesday, 5 August, people marked the annual Day of Remembrance in over 80 towns and cities all over the world (in Bulgaria, Latvia, Ukraine, Scotland and Brittany among others) by reading out the names of those shot at Sandarmokh in 1937 and 1938, during the Great Terror.

Due to the Corona virus epidemic no gathering was held this year at the memorial complex near Medvezhegorsk.

At present 6,241 victims have been identified. Over five thousand were inhabitants of Karelia or prisoners of the BelBaltlag (White Sea Canal) labour camp system; a further 1,111 were brought there to be shot from the Solovki Special Prison in the White Sea.