by Crew of the Northabout yacht and other Irish “Grandfathers for Human Rights“
On Thursday, 10 February 2022, the crew of the Northabout yacht, which sailed through the White Sea Canal in 2012 and met Yury DMITRIEV, held a silent protest against his unjust and heavy sentence outside the Russian Embassy in Dublin.
Crew members travelled with DMITRIEV to Sandarmokh and learned of his work.
Yury DMITRIEV with Dr Michael Brogan (left) and Colm Brogan, 2012
On 26 December 2021, the day before the hearing, I wrote to Yury DMITRIEV (says Olga Nosenko on Facebook today). I had my doubts. Wasn’t this a silly thing to do? But I posted my letter with no great expectations, sending him New Year’s greetings and the tale of my forbears.
And this is what I received today after DMITRIEV had already heard the new sentence. I’ll quote two excerpts:
Scattered across the length and breadth of Russia and its immediate neighbours (especially Kazakhstan), are hundreds of neglected or concealed burial grounds. Some 1,800 are currently known; others await commemoration or discovery.
Belbaltlag prisoners’ cemetery, discovered by Yury Dmitriev in August 2003
According to official figures, during the construction of Belomor, the White Sea Canal, 2.24% of the prisoners in the BelBaltlag camp complex died in 1931 (1,438 persons), 2.03% died in 1932 (2,010 persons) and in 1933, due to famine in the USSR and the rapidly approaching deadline to finish the project, 10.56% of the prison workforce died (8,870 persons).
Building the canal (photo, Wikipedia)
Seventy years later, in August 2003, Yury DMITRIEV discovered a large burial ground of BelBaltlag prisoners near the 8th lock on the White Sea Canal. The following year volunteers under his direction cleared the area and found more than 800 graves.