Tuesday, 15 December 2020
This website was launched in October 2017. Today it contains over 300 posts and pages.
Two days (or six months) ago, the Dmitriev Affair entered its fifth year. Noting a recent sharp increase in the number of hits and visitors the website receives, it seemed a good time to give it a thorough overhaul, improving the way the ever-expanding mass of information is organised and presented.
There are now two Timelines, corresponding more or less to the two trials of Yury DMITRIEV — 1997 to April 2018 and June 2018 to 2021 — with links to over 120 of the posts and pages added to the website during the past three years.
The two Timelines form a kind of ready index to the contents of this website.
The Dmitriev Affair website tracks several evolving themes and its past and new users need such a simple and straightforward guide. The site must simultaneously keep abreast of the court hearings in Karelia and, soon, in St Petersburg; it must follow the twists and turns of the ongoing memory war about who lies buried in Sandarmokh; and it must pay tribute to the efforts since the late 1980s of many volunteers, among them Yury DMITRIEV, as they continue to identify and commemorate the victims of the Soviet regime.
KEY ARTICLES AND INTERVIEWS
Key articles and interviews have now been added to the menu in a readily accessible and readable form — without the right-hand column and its the Tags, Categories, Archives, Calendar, etc.
These important texts include The Charges, and several recent and revealing accounts of the Evidence and how it was obtained: Nikita Girin, “What we’ve uncovered” and Zoya Svetova’s interview with Irina Levontina). Yury DMITRIEV’s “Last Words” at his second trial are the most extended statement he has given about his own childhood, the reason why, aged 56, he and his second wife became foster parents to a sickly 3 ½ girl from a children’s home, and his views on patriotism.
One column in the menu is about Remembrance. It provides more detail about: Solovki, the camp from which the entire Gulag grew; the history, rediscovery and commemoration of Sandarmokh; the story of Krasny Bor, the most fully documented killing field in Karelia: and the ceremony of Restoring the Names, that has become a national and local tradition over the past 15 years.
A new column concerns the victims of the Soviet regime, The Unquiet Dead, whose cemeteries, graveyards and burial grounds have become neglected or were deliberately concealed from the outset.
A cause célèbre
Thousands have come to regard this trial behind closed doors in a provincial city as of vital importance to the future of Russia. The Dmitriev Affair supporters page on Facebook, for instance, today has over 7,000 followers.
Two further examples.
In 2017 over forty prominent academics and figures in the arts gave statements on camera in support of Yury DMITRIEV, among them writer Ludmila Ulitskaya, celebrated master of animation Yury Norstein, musician Boris Grebenshchikov, historian Oleg Khlevnyuk and Natalya Solzhenitsyn, the writer’s widow.
Others have travelled to Karelia once a month to line the corridor outside the courtroom and cheer the arrival of the historian who, between monthly court appearances, keeps up an extensive correspondence from Detention Centre No 1, 47 Herzen Street in Petrozavodsk.
15 December 2020
47 Herzen Street, Petrozavodsk (photo Irina Galkova)