On 3 January 2021 Mikhail ROGACHOV passed away in St Petersburg. He created “the best Book of Remembrance in Russia, the Komi Republic’s “Repentance” Martyrology,” commented Anatoly Razumov and referred to his deceased colleague as “A wonderful person, a wonderful historian.”
Mikhail ROGACHOV (born Riga 1952; died 2021 of Covid-19 in Kronstadt hospital)
A sad loss. For years the historian Mikhail ROGACHOV studied the history of the Gulag in the Komi Republic (Northwest Russia) and was compiler, author and editor of the Pokayanie Fund’s Book of Remembrance, Repentance: The Komi Republic’s Martyrology of the Victims of Mass Political Repression.
The only one of its kind in Russia, the museum in Palochka village in the north of the Tomsk Region opened this August. It is devoted to the memory of over 7,000 forced settlers from southern Siberia who died there in 1931-1933. Partly funded with grants from the presidential administration, it faced fears of closure recently until a crowdfunding campaign raised enough to pay for its prohibitive heating costs.
From mass burials to a museum
In 2018 two local women Irina Yanchenko and Gulnara Koryagina found mass burials of so-called “special” settlers on the outskirts of the village (population 297 in 2017). Archival documents revealed that in 1931 “kulaks” had been brought there on barges down the River Ob from the Altai Regionto the south. Two years later only 700 of the 7,800 settlers remained alive: the rest had died from the backbreaking work, from starvation and sickness.
Today [14 December] we received a letter from DMITRIEV (writes Natalya Dyomina). He says he’s reading the case materials. There are 20 volumes, and he gets through 1½ to 3 of them a day.
“I still have to read about a third of the case materials. Hopefully, I’ll be able to finish them all next week. … The whole day is spent reading and by the evening I can’t write a sentence without using obscenities!” Things are fine with him, he says: his health is no worse than might be expected from someone his age.
At the third attempt the Cassation Court in St Petersburg has allowed the appeal submitted by Yury DMITRIEV and his lawyer Victor Anufriev to go forward for examination. A report in the Kommersant newspaper (14 December 2020) quotes Anufriev as saying that DMITRIEV “had submitted one appeal against all the previous decisions reached by the courts” in Karelia.
“In the cassation appeal we have combined our objections to the Supreme Court of Karelia which [on 29 September 2020] sentenced Yury Dmitriev to 13 years imprisonment,” said Dmitriev’s defence attorney. “We have also sent part of the case materials for a new examination: in that case we are appealing against the previous decision to sentence my client to 3 ½ years in a penal colony.” No date has yet been scheduled for the hearing at the court in St Petersburg, commented Anufriev.