Twenty-Four Years

A Chronology of The Dmitriev Affair

For more events and hyperlinks, see Timelines under “Trials” sub-menu (above)


11 May 1997: Death of Ivan Chukhin in motor accident

July 1997: Discovery of Sandarmokh and Krasny Bor killing fields

August 1998: First International Remembrance Day at Sandarmokh; Monument of the Guardian Angel unveiled at entrance to memorial complex

2002: Commemorative Lists of Karelia published

Dmitriev campaigns against statue of Yury Andropov in Petrozavodsk

2005: D. receives new Golden Pen of Russia award

2008: D. and second wife foster 3½-year-old Natasha.


February / March: Russia annexes Crimea, invades eastern Ukraine

July: Memorial Human Rights Centre declared a “foreign agent”

5 August: At Sandarmokh D. denounces actions of Putin regime in Ukraine


July: “New hypothesis” regarding Sandarmokh voiced by Yury Kilin, Professor of History at Petrozavodsk University

4 October: International Memorial Society designated a “foreign agent”

November: D. awarded Honorary Diploma of Karelian Republic

29 November: Police ask D. to visit police station the next day; during his absence someone enters the apartment and starts up his computer

3 December: Police receive an anonymous tip-off that D. is taking “nude photos of his daughter”

13 December: D. arrested; Natasha taken from school and placed in grandmother’s care


10 January: Nationwide Rossiya-24 TV channel shows “What does Memorial have to hide?” including supposedly pornographic photos taken by D. of Natasha.

June 2017-April 2018

1 June: Trial opens in Petrozavodsk. Press and public not admitted

August: Expert defence witnesses testify as to the use of photographic records to monitor child’s state of health (1 August) and, specifically, the health of Dmitriev’s foster daughter Natasha (29 August).

30 October: Wall of Sorrow unveiled in Moscow by Putin, Patriarch Kirill and others

26 December: New experts declared that the photos of Natasha are not “pornographic”.


27 January: D. released the day before his 63rd birthday, on condition that he stays in Petrozavodsk

27 February: Serbsky Institute assesses D. to be sane without any sign of sexual deviance.

5 April: D. acquitted by Judge Nosova on all but firearms charge

14 June: Karelian High Court sends case back for re-examination

28 June: D. re-arrested, ostensibly for breaking his release conditions

25 August: Russian Military History Society begins two weeks of excavations in Sandarmokh

2 October: Museum director Sergei KOLTYRIN arrested “on suspicion of paedophilia

October 2018-July 2020

19 October: Trial opens in Petrozavodsk. Press and public not admitted

23 October: Moscow city authorities attempt to shift “Restoring the Names” ceremony from the Solovki Stone to the Wall of Sorrow

9 November: Sergei Koltyrin turns down the services of Victor Anufriev


27 May: Sergei Koltyrin sentenced to nine years imprisonment

29 August: Finnish archive rejects Russia’s “new hypothesis” about Sandarmokh


January: D. publishes Sandarmokh, A Place of Remembrance (Vol. 1). The subtitle of his first book about Sandarmokh (1999) was “A Place of Execution”

1 April: Death of Sergei Koltyrin in prison hospital

7 July: Prosecution demands 15-year sentence for DMITRIEV

8 July: D’s last words to the court, explaining his own background and urge to foster a child, like himself, from a children’s home

22 July: D. found guilty by Judge Merkov of charges under Article 132 but only sentenced to 3½ years imprisonment, i.e., he is due for release in November 2020; other charges dismissed

29 September: High Court of Karelia increases sentence under Article 132 to 13½ years in a strict regime colony and sends other charges back for third examination

November 2020-December 2021

24 November: Trial opens in Petrozavodsk. Press and public not admitted.

Judge Khomyakova presiding

3 December: Case materials transferred to St Petersburg for consideration by the Third Cassation Court


16 February: Hearing at Court of Cassation in St Petersburg leaves 13-year sentence unchanged

30 March: Memorial lawyers appeal on D’s behalf to the European Court of Human Rights (Strasbourg)

late June: Appeal by D. to Supreme Court in Moscow

12 October: Judge Abramov of Supreme Court turns down appeal; Anufriev challenges his ruling

9 November: Prosecutor-General’s Office submits lawsuit to the Supreme Court calling for the closure of the Memorial Society