In this podcast Irina Flige, human rights activist and director of the Memorial Research and Information Centre in St Petersburg, talks about her work that focuses on historical memory, the role of the Memorial Research and Information Centre and the current human rights situation in Russia. Irina was to appear at Pushkin House in April this year as a joint event of the Pushkin Club and Rights in Russia, but the event was postponed because of the coronavirus. The conversation touches upon the legacy of political repression and efforts to document – and counteract – it, the issue of why Memorial focuses on the physical evidence of repression, and includes topics such as the Sandormokh execution site, the case of Yury Dimitriev, the impact of Covid-19 and Memorial’s latest projects.
Josephine von Zitzewitz is a member of the board of Rights in Russia and a staff member at the UiT Arctic University in Norway.
This podcast is in the Russian language. You can listen to it here:
The music, from Stravinsky’s Elegy for Solo Viola, is performed for us by Karolina Herrera.
The podcast is taken from a video version of the interview, first published by Pushkin House on 10 September 2020, which can be found on the Pushkin House website or can be viewed here:
The podcast refers to Yury Dmitriev (born 1956 in Petrozavodsk), human rights activist and local historian in Karelia who since the beginning of the 1990s has been seeking to discover the locations where victims of Stalin’s terror were shot, and to identify the victims. Dmitriev was arrested in December 2016 and charged with making pornographic images of his foster daughter Natasha. In April 2018 he was acquitted, but was sentenced to 30 months in prison for possession of a weapon. In June 2018, a second criminal case was opened against him on ‘newly discovered circumstances.’ In July 2020 he was sentenced to a term of three and a half years in a penal colonly. In October 2020 on appeal his sentence was revised upwards to 13 years in a strict regime penal colony.