Week-ending 21 May 2021
“On the 100th anniversary of Andrey Sakharov’s birth, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee will present the 2021 Sakharov Freedom Award to historian and dissident Yury Dmitriev. Yury Dmitriev is known for his work to identify victims of Soviet terror in Karelia, where tens of thousands of people were shot and killed without trial or conviction and buried in mass graves. Dmitriev has quite literally reassembled the bones of the victims in these mass graves, identified them by name and given them back their dignity, says Secretary General of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee Geir Hønneland, explaining the reason behind the award. Dmitriev’s work on so-called liquidations during the Stalin era are considered so threatening by the current Russian government that accusations of paedophilia and sexual abuse have been fabricated against him. He was recently sentenced to 13 years in prison. Millions were killed during Soviet terror, but the victims of these atrocities and their living relatives have never been given real justice. Dmitriev is currently serving a prison sentence and is considered a political prisoner by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and other leading human rights organizations. For his dedication and courage, Dmitriev enjoys considerable respect among other historians and activists, both in Russia and internationally outside the country. For the past several years, he has led the Russian organization Human Rights Center Memorial’s regional office in Karelia. 21 May 2021 marks 100 years since the birth of Andrei Sakharov. Due to current restrictions related to Covid-19, the award ceremony will be held on 29 October 2021 in cooperation with the City of Oslo, on the annual Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repressions in the Soviet Union.”
– ‘Russian historian receives 2021 Sakharov Freedom Award,’ Norwegian Helsinki Committee, 21 May 2021
The Moscow Times, 21 May 2021: Jailed Russian gulag historian Yuri Dmitriyev, who is serving 13 years in prison, has won the Sakharov Freedom Award on the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nobel laureate and human rights activist Andrei Sakharov. Dmitriyev was recognized for his work in identifying victims of Soviet repressions in Karelia by reassembling the bones from mass graves, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee human rights NGO said in a statement. “Dmitriyev’s work on so-called liquidations during the Stalin era are considered so threatening by the current Russian government that accusations of paedophilia and sexual abuse have been fabricated against him,” said Secretary General of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee Geir Hønneland.
The Moscow Times, 21 May 2021: Dozens of new pits have been discovered in a notorious Stalin-era execution site outside Moscow where more than 10,000 political dissidents are believed to be buried, the Kommersant business daily reported Thursday. The existence of the mass grave in southwestern Moscow’s district of Kommunarka became known when the KGB opened its archives, before abruptly closing them, in the last days of the Soviet Union. Its successor, Russia’s FSB, estimates that up to 14,000 people were shot and thrown into mass graves at the Kommunarka firing range between 1937-1941.