City prosecutor to appeal against Dmitriev acquittal

A formal appeal was received today by the Petrozavodsk City Court from Yelena Askerova, the city prosecutor. She acted for the prosecution at the trial of YURY DMITRIEV, who was accused of preparing child pornography and the unlawful possession of a firearm. Our website received this information from the court.

Dmitriev, the head of Memorial in Karelia, was found not guilty of the main charges. He was sentenced to 2½ years restricted liberty after being convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm. Taking into account the months he had already spent in custody, the historian was faced with only three more months to serve. During that period, he must report to the prison every fortnight.

Georgy Chentemirov
Petrozavodsk Calling
13 April 2018

On the eve of a verdict

Halya Coynash

A verdict is due on Thursday, 5 April 2018, in the trial of YURY DMITRIEV, world-renowned Russian historian and head of the Karelia branch of the Memorial Society.

City Courthouse, Petrozavodsk, 2018

Petrozavodsk City Courthouse (photo, Kerstin Kronvall)

The prosecution has demanded a 9-year sentence, despite even the expert assessments ordered by the court dismissing the charges. This deeply flawed case differs from many politically-motivated trials, however, in that the outcome is still not clear. A guilty verdict on Thursday afternoon will signal a new descent for Russia into its Soviet past.

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Prosecutor demands 9-year sentence for Yury Dmitriev

The Serbsky Institute, the organisation which Prosecutor Askerova requested to assess Dmitriev’s mental state and the nine supposedly pornographic photos, effectively demolished the prosecution case, by declaring that the photos had no sexual content or purpose and that Dmitriev was himself normal mentally.

Askerova, Yelena (Petrozavodsk city prosecutor)

Yelena ASKEROVA, Petrozavodsky City Prosecutor since 2012

In her closing statement, however, Yelena Askerova demanded that YURY DMITRIEV be found guilty as charged and given a 9-year setence of imprisonment.

On Thursday, 22 March, the defence will make its closing statement and the judge will withdraw to consider her verdict.

Closing statements on 20 and 22 March

“I know it will be difficult to put together a support group three times at the Petrozavodsk courthouse, so I consulted Victor Anufriev,” wrote Daniil Saksonov on 10 March. Dmitriev’s lawyer said that the hearing on 14 March would “not be very important”, just an additional examination of one witness.

The following Tuesday, 20 March, marks the beginning of the closing statements by prosecution and defence and it would be important that people came to Petrozavodsk on that day. “Let’s try to make it!” wrote Saksonov who lectures at the Moscow Film School. “Getting away from Moscow or St Petersburg is not easy, but let’s get together. Please send us a message if you can come.

“We’re hoping that Yury Alexeyevich [Dmitriev] will lead another excursion for visitors around memorial sites near Petrozavodsk (most probably to Krasny Bor).”

Facebook, 10 March 2018

“Scoundrels thought up this case” (Chudakova)

After her journey from Moscow to Petrozavodsk to express her support for Yury Dmitriev, the redoutable literary specialist MARIETTA CHUDAKOVA found time to give a public lecture on Memory, history textbooks and how “the present generation of idiots” in Russia was raising the next …

She also responded to questions from the media, as is now the custom,  in the courthouse corridor. Karelia’s State Radio & Televion Company did not include her words, however, in that evening’s news broadcast.

in Russian (English summary
or translation available presently)

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A third of the population …

When YURY DMITRIEV was arrested, he was finishing work on a book that had taken nine years to research. It would contain thousands of names, he explained, in a January 2016 interview:

“I’m now putting together a book that will contain the names of those deported to  ‘build socialism’ in Karelia from almost every other part of the USSR: Ukraine, Belarus, Azerbaijan, the Volga Region, the Urals and beyond – there was even one person from the Far East, from Kamchatka. There are more than 64,000 names in my list.

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“Let’s cover them up again” (Golgotha, part 1)

Yury Dmitriev in his own words

“For me it all began in the late 1980s. I’d heard that people had been ‘repressed’, but, somehow, we didn’t speak about it in our family. It turned out later that my mother’s father was dekulakised and sent to work on the White Sea Canal.

young Dmitriev

Yury Dmitriev (1980s)

“My other grandfather was arrested in 1938 and died in the camps. He was an accountant on a collective farm and he caught it in the neck. Papa only confessed this to me in 1991 when we were coming back from the first funeral I organised for the victims of repression.  Continue reading

Next court hearing, 27 February

The Dmitriev case, together with the results of his Serbsky Institute assessment, has been returned to Petrozavodsk City Court.  The next hearing is scheduled for 27 February, at 10.30 am. “It is important to come to court that day, to support Yury Dmitriev and to show that public interest in his case has not weakened,” commented page administrator Daniil Saksonov.

Russian supporters’ Facebook page
8 February 2018

Photos not pornographic, say new forensic experts

A new assessment of the photographs of YURY DMITRIEV’s adopted daughter was scheduled by the court: the photos constitute the main evidence against the head of the Memorial Society in Karelia. Yesterday, during the interval in the proceedings at this famous case, Dmitriev’s defence attorney VICTOR ANUFRIEV announced to waiting journalists that the new forensic experts had found no element of pornography in the photos.  Continue reading

Memorial launches new database in city “where Dmitriev worked”

O 5 December, Memorial presented the updated 5th edition of its database in Petrozavodsk, containing the names of political prisoners and forced settlers who were executed during the Soviet period. The new version was being launched, noted ALEXANDER DANIEL of Memorial, at the very same time in other cities across Russia: Tomsk (Siberia), Syktyvkar (Northwest Russia), Perm (Volga Federal District), Moscow and St. Petersburg.

young Dmitriev

Yury Dmitriev in early 1990s

“Why did “Memorial” choose to launch this new edition in Petrozavodsk?” asked Daniel. “Because Karelia is one of the few parts of Russia where the lists of victims are more or less complete. There are hardly any other regions like it. And that is  thanks to two wonderful people:  the late IVAN CHUKHIN and YURY DMITRIEV. “I think you all know where Yury is today. Petrozavodsk is the city where Chukhin worked, where Yury Dmitriev worked, and where Dmitriev will continue to work in the future.” (Full version of report, overleaf)

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