Hunter of Stalin's mass graves on trial in Russia

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tags: Stalin

Yuri Dmitriev spent years locating and exhuming the mass graves of people executed during Josef Stalin's Great Terror. Eight decades after one of Russia's darkest chapters, it is his reputation, not Stalin's, that is on trial. 

The historian, 61, is being tried on charges brought by state prosecutors of involving his 11-year-old adopted daughter in child pornography, illegally possessing "the main elements of" a firearm, and of depravity involving a minor. 

If convicted of the charges, which he denies, he faces up to 15 years in jail. 

Fellow historians, rights activists and some of Russia's leading cultural figures say Dmitriev has been framed because his focus on Stalin's crimes has become politically untenable under President Vladimir Putin. 

They say his real crime is dedicating himself to documenting Stalin's 1937-38 Great Terror, in which nearly 700,000 people were executed, according to conservative official estimates.

His arrest followed close on the heels of the release by Memorial, the organization for which he works, of a list of more than 40,000 Stalin-era secret policemen, a move that raised an outcry among some of their descendants.

Read entire article at Reuters

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