In early July 1997, DMITRIEV together with Irina Flige and the late Veniamin Joffe discovered a huge killing field of the Great Terror near Medvezhegorsk in Karelia. Subsequently it became known as Sandarmokh.
Weeks later, in early September, he and Sergei Chugunkov identify the Krasny Bor killing field and burial ground not far from Petrozavodsk, the capital of Karelia.
The contest over the form remembrance should take, on what date and in which locations is a crucial part of the Dmitriev Affair. At its heart lies the 5 August Day of Remembrance at Sandarmokh, which is inextricably linked with Yury DMITRIEV and a memorial complex unlike any other. For the last two years Dmitriev has been prevented from attending the 5 August event.
Yury Dmitriev in his own words
“In 1997 I met Veniamin Joffe and Irina Flige from Petersburg Memorial at the FSB archives in Karelia. We agreed to look for the site near Medvezhyegorsk where executions took place.
“Joffe and Flige were on the track of the missing transport from Solovki special prison. They began their search after reading the case file of NKVD Captain Mikhail Matveyev, who oversaw the shooting of the Solovki prisoners in autumn 1937. From reading all the execution reports I knew that an enormous number of people, several thousand in all, had been shot somewhere near Medgora. So, we agreed on a date. If I remember rightly, we arrived there on 1 July and on 2 or 3 July we had already discovered the place [Sandarmokh]. I would be stuck there for ages. The official investigative procedures continued for two whole months.
On Monday, 30 October 2017, the Karelian capital Petrozavodsk marked the annual Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Political Repression. At the city’s Zaretsky Graveyard and then at Krasny Bor access to the microphone was limited to those who talked about spiritual values, Holy Russia and forgiveness. Your correspondent observed how official Karelia strove not to mention the name of YURY DMITRIEV, one of the pioneers in locating and investigating such sites of mass burial (writes Sergei Markelov, 7×7 – Horizontal Russia).
Writer Ludmila Ulitskaya in
the courthouse corridor on 11 October 2017.
This 4-minute clip from the Meduza news website also includes footage of Dmitriev on Solovki, and speaking at at Sandarmokh on 5 August 2014. Continue reading