Vera Vasilieva: A letter from Yury Dmitriev

13 June 2022

By Vera Vasilieva

Source: Facebook

A letter, dated 24th May, came from Yury Alekseevich Dmitriev. The very first that I have received from him since he arrived in Mordovia. 

With wry humour, he describes his journey to prison, which lasted nearly a month and took him through several towns. Even when he finds himself in gloomy places, the geography of which conjures up in my mind the times of the Gulag, Yury Alekseevich manages to pick-out the positive and the informative aspects of his situation, particularly focussing on ethnography. He writes that “the Karelians and Mordovians descend from (or rather form) the Finno-Ugrian group of peoples.” 

About the thing-that-must-not-be-named, he writes, “I made my position known on this matter back in 1997, which is: ‘People, do not kill each other!’ And I wholeheartedly uphold this subversive belief even to this day”. 

He suffers from the lack of truthful news (his phrase). “To watch TV, is to have no self-respect”, Yury Alekseevich says of the situation, and asks to send him information, if and when possible, “even if it’s in Aesopian language.” 

He sends his wishes for “courage and success” to all political prisoners and believes that the wait is nearly over. 

Pictured: At the entrance to the Sandarmokh memorial, a bas-relief with an angel and an inscription by Yury Dmitriev. Photo by Novaya gazeta

Translated by Alina Loginova

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