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.

Appeals lodged by all parties

Memorial in Moscow has just confirmed that the Defence and Prosecution have both appealed against the verdict and sentence pronounced on 22 July 2020 by Judge Merkov at the end of Yury DMITRIEV’s second trial before the Petrozavodsk City Court.

On 31 July Yury Dmitriev submitted an appeal, as did the prosecution. On 3 August, an appeal was lodged on behalf of the victim, Dmitriev’s adopted daughter Natasha.

Dmitriev’s attorney Victor Anufriev confirmed that an appeal had been submitted with the intention of clearing his client of all charges. At present Dmitriev is being held, as before, in detention centre No 1 in Petrozavodsk.

Sergei Koltyrin has died

The former director of the Medvezhegorsk City Museum, Sergei KOLTYRIN, died yesterday in the town’s prison hospital. His brother Vladimir passed the news to the Sever.Realii website.

“He died last night,” said Koltyrin’s brother. “He had cancer. That’s all I can tell you. He wasn’t in the ordinary hospital but the other one and, as they told me, it’s not exactly the place you’d send children on vacation. They’ll write what they like in his death certificate.”

The republican department of the Investigative Committee confirmed the news of the historian’s death. As soon as they receive the papers from the Federal Penitentiary Service, they commented, they will begin to check what happened.

Radio Liberty, 2 April 2020 (in Russian)

In May 2019, Sergei Koltyrin was sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment in a corrective labour colony. For other news items and reports about his case — https://dmitrievaffair.com/tag/sergei-koltyrin/

The last resting place of Les Kurbas

Acclaimed curator and theatre director from New York Virlana Tkacz and artist Waldemart Klyuzko will give a talk in London tonight about Les KURBAS, Ukraine’s most important theatre director, who radically transformed Ukrainian theatre in the 1920s.

Kurbas lecture poster, May 2019

Wednesday, 8 May, 7 pm
Main Hall of the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family,
21 Binney Street, Mayfair, London W1K 5BQ

Kurbas and almost three hundred other representatives of Ukraine’s intelligentsia were shot at Sandarmokh between 27 October and 4 November 1937. They have become known as Ukraine’s “Executed Renaissance”.

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Were last year’s excavations at Sandarmokh legal?

As the prosecution continues to present its evidence of “new offences” by Yury DMITRIEV at his second trial in the Petrozavodsk City Court in Karelia, a related dispute is being pursued at the national level over the identity of those executed and buried at Sandarmokh.

In early February, the Kommersant daily newspaper reported
on this “second front” in the Dmitriev Affair.

Sandarmokh, Solovki transport memorial (photo Kurilova)

Solovki transport memorial, Sandarmokh (photo, Anastasia Kurilova, August 2018)

In January 2019 there was an appeal for Yury Chaika, the Russian Federation’s Prosecutor General, to personally investigate the excavations at Sandarmokh last year by the Military History Society (MHS).

The request came from a deputy of the Karelian Legislative Assembly, Emilia Slabunova of the Yabloko Party. The authorities, she believes, had confused the status of memorial complex with “a site of interest” when granting permission for the MHS to carry out its exploratory excavations. She was referring to the archaeological investigation carried out by the Society at Sandarmokh between 25 August and 5 September 2018.

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