It is becoming dangerous in Russia to investigate the crimes of Stalinism, writes Halya Coynash. A second Karelian historian, Sergei KOLTYRIN has been arrested and is facing charges almost identical to those now brought against political prisoner, Yury DMITRIEV.
While the possibility cannot be excluded that there are real grounds for these new charges, the chilling similarities between the two cases are of immense concern. So too is the timing, with this second arrest coming soon after Koltyrin publicly rejected attempts to rewrite history about the mass graves of victims of the Terror at Sandarmokh in Karelia.
Sergei KOLTYRIN, director of the Medvezhyegorsk district museum, has been detained “with an accomplice” on suspicion of paedophilia, a source within law enforcement told the local Respublika website. This was later confirmed by the Investigative Committee of Karelia.
Sergei Koltyrn, director of Medvezhyegorsk district museum
Koltyrin has been heavily involved with the Sandarmokh memorial complex, which lies within the area covered by his museum, and spoke out against the recent excavations there by the Russian Military Historical Society. He has been director of the Medvezhyegorsk district museum for the past 27 years.
He is being investigated under Article 135 (Depraved Actions), concerning sexual relations with a minor. This is an offence similar to that which was added to Yury DMITRIEV’s charge sheet after his re-arrest at the end of June. (The details of the new charge against Dmitriev have yet to be clarified.)
Source: Respublika website
Tuesday, 2 October 2018
The first hearing in Yury DMITRIEV’s new trial was postponed on
27 September until next month, to allow the accused and his lawyer time to acquaint themselves, once again, with the case materials of his first trial [from 1 June 2017 to 5 April 2018]. The next hearing is scheduled for Wednesday,
17 October 2018, at the Petrozavodsk City Court.
Dmitriev in courtroom corridor, 27 September 2018 (photo, Sergei Myatukhin)
What evidence did the investigators present in court, for the court to adopt custody as the measure of restraint for your client?
Today the Petrozavodsk City Court granted the petition of the investigator, supported by the prosecutor’s office, and remanded Yury Dmitriev in custody until 28 August.
If you ask what the grounds for this decision were, I believe there were no grounds because there was no evidence whatsoever in the case materials that the investigator brought to court that Yury Dmitriev had done what was said. Grounds for suspicion, in other words, were not established today. Moreover, as always, the standard phrases were pronounced: “he might hide from the investigation”, “he might influence the victim”, “he might leave the country, because he has applied for a foreign travel passport”.
Dmitriev’s lawyer, Victor Anufriev, talks to Zoya Svetova about the new criminal case.
On 28 June the Petrozavodsk City Court decided that YURY DMITRIEV, head of the Karelian section of the Memorial Society, should be remanded in custody as part of the new criminal case against him.
“There were no surprises today,” commented Dmitriev’s lawyer Victor Anufriev. “Before the hearing the investigator said, ‘We’ll see you at the Detention Centre tomorrow.’ In other words, he already knew what the decision would be.
“During the hearing they made reference to the following: detained with his belongings; was trying to get a foreign travel passport; a grave crime; might put pressure on the victim; could commit a new crime; was attempting to hide from the courts. Those different turns of phrase have turned up in one court ruling after another.”
So far as 7×7 correspondent is aware, Dmitriev has not yet been charged. The criminal investigation was launched under an Article covering “violent actions of a sexual nature against a minor”.
7×7-Horizontal Russia, 28 June 2018