Sergei Bykovsky today posted on Facebook a photo of Yury DMITRIEV in 2005 at Mount Sekirna on the Great Solovetsky Island. Dmitriev’s little foster daughter Natasha was christened on that trip.
That year Yury DMITRIEV received the new Golden Pen of Russia award for his publications about the building of the White Sea Canal in the early 1930s and the Karelian killing fields at Krasny Bor and Sandarmokh which he helped to discover where thousands were shot and secretly buried during the Great Terror.
More than one thousand prisoners were shipped from the island prison of Solovki in October 1937.
For their relatives they disappeared even earlier when letters remained unanswered, but they were not forgotten. Their families tried to discover their fate. Many years would pass before it was learned that they had been shot.
For decades, relatives were fobbed off with lies and phoney certificates: the prisoners were sentenced to “ten years without the right to correspondence”; they were being “held in distant camps”; they had “died from a heart attack, from pneumonia.” In the late 1980s truthful information about their deaths finally emerged: when they were sentenced and shot – but not where they were executed and buried.
Their departure from Solovki was remembered and recorded.
[…] Historians believe that a considerable proportion of those executed in Karelia were shot at Sandarmokh. A transport of 1,111 prisoners from the Solovki Special Prison were brought from the White Sea to the clearing and shot there between 27 October and 4 November 1937.
On Wednesday, 5 August, people marked the annual Day of Remembrance in over 80 towns and cities all over the world (in Bulgaria, Latvia, Ukraine, Scotland and Brittany among others) by reading out the names of those shot at Sandarmokh in 1937 and 1938, during the Great Terror.
Due to the Corona virus epidemic no formal gathering was held this year at the memorial complex near Medvezhegorsk.
On Wednesday, 22 July at 2.30 pm (Moscow Time), Judge Merkov will announce the verdict in the Dmitriev case at the Petrozavodsk City Court. Yury DMITRIEV was arrested in December 2016 and has spent most of the time since then in prison.
As shown by The Search for Sandarmokh, a book published last year, the background to the trial reaches back more than 80 years into Soviet history to the late 1930s. Its author Irina FLIGE outlines and analyses the unfolding drama of that history.