Russian Historian Dmitriyev To Be Transferred To Penal Colony

A well-known Russian historian, who is also the head of the Memorial human rights group in the northwestern region of Karelia, will soon be transferred from a detention center in the city of Petrozavodsk to a penal colony to serve a lengthy prison term on charges he and his supporters have staunchly denied.

Yury Dmitriyev's lawyer, Viktor Anufriyev, said on March 29 that his client will be transferred to a correctional colony in the town of Nadvoitsy in Karelia in the coming days after the region's Supreme Court upheld his sentence in a ruling made two weeks ago.

The high-profile case against Dmitriyev dates back to 2016, when the historian, who has spent decades researching extrajudicial executions carried out in Karelia under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, was arrested over images of his foster daughter that investigators found on his computer.

The authorities said the images were pornographic but Dmitriyev said they were made at the request of social workers concerned about the child's physical development.

He was acquitted in April 2018, but the Karelia Supreme Court upheld an appeal by prosecutors and ordered a new trial. He was rearrested in June 2018 and then charged with a more serious crime of sexual assault of a minor.

In July 2020, Dmitriyev was sentenced to 3 1/2 years on a conviction for "violent acts of a sexual nature committed against a person under 14 years of age." He has rejected the case, insisting that he is being targeted because of his research into the crimes of Stalin's regime.

Prosecutors, who had asked for 15 years in prison in the high-profile case, said the original sentence was "too lenient" and appealed it. Dmitriyev's defense team, meanwhile, also appealed, insisting he was innocent.

In September 2020, weeks before he was due to be released because of time served, the Supreme Court accepted the prosecutors' appeal and added another 9 1/2 years onto Dmitriyev's sentence.

Dozens of Russian and international scholars, historians, writers, poets, and others have issued statements in support of the scholar, while the European Union has called for Dmitriyev to be released.

Dmitriyev's research has been viewed with hostility by the government of President Vladimir Putin.

Under Putin, Stalin has undergone a gradual rehabilitation, and the Russian government has emphasized his leadership of the Soviet Union while downplaying his crimes against Soviet citizens.

During Stalin's rule, millions of people were executed, sent to labor camps, or starved to death in famines caused by forced collectivization. During World War II, entire ethnic groups were deported to remote areas as collective punishment for alleged collaboration with the Nazis.

With reporting by Interfax
Row’s aggression against Kyiv.

In March, Moscow expelled 10 diplomats from Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia after the three Baltic nations joined other EU members in a move to expel Russian diplomats over the invasion of Ukraine.

Earlier on April 21, Estonia joined Latvia and Lithuania in banning the display of the symbols "Z" and "V," which are used by supporters of Russia's war in Ukraine.

Lawmakers in Estonia and Latvia also adopted resolutions on April 21, accusing Russia of genocide against the Ukrainian people.
With reporting by Reuters, dpa, and