A Evening of Solidarity with Historian Yury Dmitriev. Report by HRO.org

posted 18 Dec 2017, 04:45 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 18 Dec 2017, 04:51 ]
11 December 2017    
By Vera Vasilieva    Source: HRO.org 

On 9 December 2017, an evening of solidarity with the historian Yury Dmitriev was held at the Sakharov Centre in Moscow. The Karelian historian reclaimed the names of 11 000 victims of Soviet terror from oblivion, and did much for the commemoration of their burials in Sandarmokh, Red Bor.

For a year now, Yury Dmitriev has been held on remand at Pretrial Detention Centre No. 1 in the city of Petrozavodsk, on what his colleagues, human rights activists, cultural figures and many others are convinced are false allegations. The Memorial Human Rights Centre (Moscow) has recognised Yury Dmitriev as a political prisoner.

The evening of solidarity took place under the banner “Do not be afraid to go to prison for this.” The meeting was attended by Yury Dmitriev’s lawyer Viktor Anufriev, his daughter Ekaterina Klodt, and also Garri Bardin, Liudmila Ulitskaia, Sergei Gandlevskii, Timur Shaov, Veronika Dolina and others.

The event was organised by the human rights association “Free Word”.

On the night it was possible to make a modest donation to the family of Yury Dmitriev and sign any of the 32 postcards with photos of Sandarmokh, Red Bor and other memorial locations. The organisers will send them to the detention centre.

As Natalia Mavlevich, a translator and member of the “Free Word” association, recalled, Yury Dmitriev was arrested on charges which were based on photographs secretly seized from his computer by persons unknown. The local historian is accused of making child pornography, when in fact the images are a diary of the health of his adopted daughter.

In support of Yury Dmitriev a broad public campaign has been launched, in which both Memorial and the Moscow International Film School are participating. People continually go to the court hearings, which take place in Petrozavodsk, and write and publish videos in defence of the accused online.

The evening at the Sakharov Centre began with a screening of Maria Boteva’s documentary report about a trip to the court in Petrozavodsk and to Krasny Bor on 11 October 2017. Among the numerous other supporters of Yury Dmitriev was the writer Ludmila Ulitskaia.

In the opinion of the St Petersburg historian Anatolii Razumov, who like Yury Dmitriev created a Book of Memory, and who also went on the trip, “Dmitriev was arrested for Sandarmokh”. After all, it is through the efforts of the memorialisers that that place of memory became notorious far beyond the borders of Russia, which certainly did not please everyone in our country.

“Probably everyone knows what this matter is and where it came from, but there’s just one thing they probably don’t know: how it will end up. With the current state of our justice system, it’s rather difficult to predict, because it’s impossible to take only the law into consideration. If only the law is considered, then Yury Alekseevich will be vindicated,’ said lawyer Viktor Anufriev, speaking at the Sakharov Centre.

“When I visit him and say that people are writing about him and supporting him, he comes to life and smiles, thinking that this is not all done in vain. Most of all he’s happy that people do not forget his work: excavations and the restoration of memory.

“I was with him on 2 December. His mood was very good. He sent a big hello to everyone. I told him about today’s event, and he was very thankful to everyone,” said Ekaterina Klodt of her meetings with her father at the detention centre. “It’s impossible to reconcile oneself to this. I can’t get used to it. For me personally, it’s not possible,” she added.

The animator, screenwriter and artist Garri Bardin said that, “when you see young people who are imbued with Dmitriev’s ideas, this raises the hope that maybe we will survive despite this system.

“Here is a person who sees to the root of the matter. He understands that a life should not be lived out, torn up and then forgotten. If we forget, we kill the person over again. For this reason, to create markers, people like Yury Alekseevich Dmitriev are essential.

Yury Dmitriev is a marker to which we must measure up, however many mouths are shut. God give him strength to endure,” said Garri Bardin.

The evening also featured journalist Viktoria Ivleva, translator and literary critic Lev Oborin, poets Dmitry Vedeniapin and Yury Gugolev, singer Tatiana Konkova, musician and artist German Vinogradov and others.

In total, more than a 100 000 roubles were collected.

Supporters of Yury Dmitriev say that people who want to support him, including by going to the trial, can do this through the Facebook community "The Case of Dmitriev" (in Russian).

Translated by Anna Bowles