Concerns Raised for Detained Gulag Historian Yury DmitriyevHistorians in the News
tags: Russia, Soviet Union, human rights, Stalinism, GULAG
The U.K. has reiterated calls for the release of Yury Dmitriyev, a Russian historian who discovered Stalin-era mass graves and is currently being held in pre-trial detention on charges many say are politically motivated.
Dmitriyev, 64, is the head of the Karelian branch of Memorial, an independent NGO that researches Soviet political repression and human rights. He was first arrested in December 2016 after authorities searched his home and discovered naked photos of his adopted underage daughter on his computer. Dmitriyev dismissed the child pornography accusations, saying he the photos of his daughter — who was malnourished when she was taken into care by Dmitriyev and his former wife — were to monitor her health and physical development for child services.
The arrest came just weeks after Russia had placed the International Memorial Society on its list of foreign agents — a designation used by the Russian authorities to vilify and neuter independent NGOs. Dozens of prominent cultural figures in Russia, as well as international human rights groups rallied to Dmitriyev’s defense. He was first acquitted in April 2018, but taken back into custody two months later on connected charges his lawyer says carry a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.