“One of the country’s dirtiest trials.” An Open Letter on the Prosecution of Yury Dmitriev.

19 July 2020

An open letter to employees of the court, the prosecutor’s office and the investigative authorities involved in the Dmitriev case.

Source: Novaya gazeta

At this point in time, few people are surprised by false charges. But even against that backdrop, the criminal prosecution of Yury Dmitriev – the historian of persecution, one of the founders of the Sandarmokh and Krasny Bor memorial sites, author of books about the Great Purge, the head of the Karelian branch of Memorial, and an honorary member of the St Petersburg PEN club – stands apart. It is one of the country’s dirtiest trials. We have long been imprisoning people for their civic engagement, but for those who decided to destroy the Karelian historian’s life, it seemed it wasn’t enough to deprive him of his freedom. They resolved to shatter his reputation and ruin not just Yury Alexeevich’s life but also that of his child, launching an egregiously cynical witch hunt through a whole host of pro-government media outlets. The criminal trial of the Karelian historian will one day be studied as an example of a false case, fabricated according to a predetermined pattern.

The truth lies above the surface: this manhunt for Dmitriev, the intrusion on his family and the attempts to destroy the futures of a father and his daughter are all directly related to his fight for historical memory and his work towards recovering the names of the innocent people killed in Stalinist camps. In truth, it is not at all complicated to understand: neither the witch hunt against Yury Dmitriev, nor the possibility of imprisonment will stop the work started by him and his colleagues. Russian history can stand up for itself and answer to those who wish to destroy archives, scorch the earth and rewrite the past completely.

For a list of signatories see the original publication here.

Translated by Verity Hemp

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