Yuri Dmitriev, a Gulag researcher, who had been locating and exhuming the mass graves of Stalin’s victims since 1980-s, was arrested on 13th December 2016 and imprisoned on trumped-up charges. His trial started in June 2017 and is still going on.
The Dmitriev affair will be discussed by lawyers and human rights activists. The event will be chaired by John Crowfoot, researcher and translator, who created the site https://dmitrievaffair.wordpress.com and Bill Bowring, a practicing barrister and Professor of Law at Birkbeck College.
Before the trial, the 60-year-old historian was little known in Russia or abroad. Today he is a national, even international, figure. He may still be found guilty, even on the flimsy evidence provided, but the publicity comes at a bad time for President Putin and his regime.
On 30 October the Russian president opened a large monument to the Victims of Political Repression in Moscow.
Who is Yury Dmitriev?
Yury Dmitriev has spent over 25 years combing the forests and archives of Karelia to find where the executed victims of Stalin lie – Poles, Ukrainian intellectuals, Karelian peasants, Finnish and Czech communists – and to identify them from the execution lists of the NKVD. No other region has been so well researched.
Why then this determined attempt to discredit such an “admirable man” (Natalya Solzhenitsyn)? How sincere are the Russian authorities about facing up to the past? Will the case against Dmitriev collapse or will he be convicted?
These issues will be discussed by translator and researcher John Crowfoot (founder of the Dmitriev Affair website), Bill Bowring, barrister, professor of law at Birkbeck College and an expert on Russia’s post-Soviet legal and judicial systems; and Dr Andrea Gullotta, a historian who has met Yury Dmitriev during his own research into the Solovki Special Purpose Camp in the White Sea.
This is a joint event of Pushkin Club and Rights in Russia and all are welcome.