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.

Continue reading

“Let’s cover them up again”

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)

Continue reading

The man saving us all

“There are lives that seem remarkable, but if you look closely, you’ll see that another could have done as well,” writes Russian author Sergei Lebedev. “There are lives, however, that are an ideal fit. You can’t imagine anyone else doing the same. Yury Dmitriev is one of those.

“Journalists have called him Khottabych (or even Gandalf), a wizard or a folk hero. At first this seemed amusing and appropriate. Yet at some point it ceased to be helpful: it was as though the writers themselves weren’t sure what to do with Dmitriev — where to place him, how to describe him.”  Continue reading

Detention Centre No 1

“I have experienced for myself what those imprisoned in the late 1930s were feeling. Now I know the words to convey their pain, indignation and hurt, the bitterness of separation from their dear ones. Now I know how dispiriting it is, this waiting: ‘They’ll sort things out and let me go — I’ve done absolutely nothing wrong.’

Continue reading

The Day of Remembrance in Petrozavodsk

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).

Continue reading