The case of Yuri Dmitriev. Timeline 2016-2020

December 2, 2016

An anonymous letter was sent to the law enforcement agencies of Petrozavodsk stating that Yu.A. Dmitriev was taking nude photos of his 11-years old adopted daughter. Two photographs were attached to the statement. An anonymous applicant requested to pursue «actions» against Yuri Dmitriev. No identification of the applicant was carried out either by the investigation or by the court; his name is still unknown.

December 10, 2016

The district police officer invited Dmitriev to visit the police station to clarify the technical issues about his hunting rifles. The next day, Dmitriev spent four hours at the police station. He discovered later that someone had secretly been in his apartment during that time.

December 13, 2016

Yuri Dmitriev was detained in his apartment in Petrozavodsk.

His apartment was searched, a folder with photos of his adopted daughter was found in his home computer. According to Dmitriev and members of his family, the purpose of these photos was to monitor the health of the child. Dmitriev’s adopted daughter was taken from school lessons by the representatives of the children’s services, who put her in a rehabilitation center. The family was not notified about it.

December 14, 2016

Ekaterina, Dmitriev’s eldest daughter, came to the rehabilitation center to visit the girl. The child was scared, she asked about her dad and wanted to go home. Ekaterina promised to take the girl, but on the same day, she was informed that even meetings with her younger sister were forbidden by the investigation. Since that day, the sisters have not met each other.

December 15, 2016

A criminal case under Art. 242.2 of the Criminal Code, paragraph «c», part 2 («Use of minors for the production of pornographic materials or objects») has been instituted against Yuri Dmitriev. He was detained, it was said that the reason was to avoid the pressure that he could put on his adopted daughter. Since December 13, 2016, he has not seen a girl and had no opportunity to talk or to send her a letter.

December 28, 2016

The girl was placed under the guardianship of her grandmother, Valentina Ivanovna Frolenkova. Previously, guardianship was denied for her; the girl’s mother was deprived of parental rights shortly after birth.

January 2017

The adopted daughter of Yuri Dmitriev was subjected to interrogations, medical and psychiatric examinations. During interrogations, she never mentioned the strange or unpleasant behavior of Dmitriev. No medical or psychological abnormalities that could have been the consequences of violent or depraved acts against the child were found by the investigative examination. After the procedures, the girl was sent to her grandmother, to one of the remote villages of Karelia (about 600 km from Petrozavodsk).

February 2017

The girl wrote a letter to Yuri Dmitriev:

«Dear Dad, I really miss you. I really hope you will be released soon. I'm fine, I'm learning fine. Happy birthday to you! How are you doing there? Send me a letter, if it’s possible. I love you with all my heart. Your daughter».

April 5, 2017

A complaint to the Petrozavodsk City Court was lodged by Viktor Anufriev, Yuri Dmitriev’s lawyer. He pointed out numerous violations committed by the investigation in the process of appointing an examination of photographs, choosing an expert organization, familiarization of the defender, and the person under investigation with the results of the examination. The procedural request for an alternative examination was not satisfied by the investigation; the lawyer was not provided with photos that were subjected to the examination.

April 7, 2017

The complaint of a lawyer was explored by Petrozavodsk City Court, which did not find any reason to accept it as a matter for proceedings.

April 11, 2017

Yuri Dmitriev was charged with the following charges:

– under Art. 242.2, paragraph «c», part 2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation («Use of a minor for the production of pornographic materials or objects»), upon the one photograph captured in June 2012;

– under Art. 135 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, as amended on August 12, 2003, by the Federal Law #162, and with the amendments of July 21, 2004, by the Federal Law #73 («The commission of licentious acts, without the use of violence, by a person who has reached the age of 18 years with a person who is known to be under the age of 16»), upon the fact of four photos captured in January 2009;

– under Art. 135, part 3 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, as amended on December 27, 2009, by the Federal Law #377 («The commission of licentious acts, without the use of violence, by a person who has reached the age of 18 years with a person who is known to be under the age of 12»), upon the fact of four photographs captured in July 2010;

– under Art. 222, part 1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation («Illegal keeping of the main parts of firearms»), upon the fragments of «IZH-5» hunting rifle with a trimmed barrel that were recovered from Dmitriev’s house during a search; these fragments were found by Dmitriev on the street earlier.

Three charges (under Art. 242.2, paragraph «c», part 2 and Art. 135 in two different editions) were brought forward according to an examination conducted by the ANCO «Center for Sociocultural Expertise» experts, N. N. Kryukova, who is a teacher of mathematics, E. Ya. Boreisha-Pokorskaya, an art historian, and Z. M. Tarasova, a pediatrician, on demand of an investigation. Nine family photos were selected out of 239 that were found on Dmitriev’s computer and submitted for examination. The photos became the subject of a crime on three charges.

April 21, 2017

Elena Askerova, a Petrozavodsk prosecutor, approved the indictment in the case of Yuri Dmitriev. The case has been submitted to the court.

May 17, 2017

A preliminary hearing took place in the Petrozavodsk city court at the request of lawyer Victor Anufriev on the exclusion of the results of the investigative examination, conducted with numerous violations, from the list of evidence. The request was not granted by the court.

May 24, 2017

The presentation of Yuri Dmitriev’s e-books «They are remembered by the Homeland. The book of memory of the Karelian people» and «Red Coniferous Forest» took place in Petrozavodsk. The books were finalized while in custody.

June 1, 2017

The hearings started in court. The Petrozavodsk City Court and the Supreme Court of Karelia, in which the relevant applications were filed, refused to appoint a re-examination of the photographs, prosecution’s main argument and considered that the examination of ANCO «Center for Sociocultural Expertise» was sufficient.

June 22, 2017

Lev Scheglov, M.D. and professor, the president of the National Institute of Sexology, was questioned as a specialist by the court. In his opinion, these photographs are not of pornographic nature, and the expertise conducted by the ANCO «Center for Sociocultural Expertise» does not stand up to professional criticism. The court attached an assessment of the examination to the case.

July 24, 2017

The Memorial Human Rights Center studied the available information on the case, recognized Yuri Dmitriev as a political prisoner, and demanded to stop his criminal prosecution.

August 5, 2017

The Memorial Day in Sandarmokh was held for the twentieth time. Yuri Dmitriev wasn’t there for the very first time. None of the representatives of the authorities of the Republic of Karelia and the city administration of Medvezhyegorsk joined the memorial action.

September 15, 2017

A re-examination of photographs was appointed, the «Federal Department of Independent Judicial Expertise» LLC (St. Petersburg) was selected as an expert organization by the court.

December 26, 2017

No signs of pornography were identified by re-examination. A comprehensive psychological and psychiatric examination at the State Scientific Center for Social and Forensic Psychiatry named after V. P. Serbsky was assigned to Yuri Dmitriev.

December 28, 2017

Yuri Dmitriev was transferred to Moscow for a second psychiatric examination.

January 19, 2018

A comprehensive psychological, sexological, and psychiatric examination of Yuri Dmitriev in the Center named by V. P Serbsky was finished.

January 27, 2018

Yuri Dmitriev was released from the pre-trial detention center on his own recognisance.

February 27, 2018

The results of a psychiatric examination of Yuri Dmitriev were announced. No abnormalities in his health or behavior were found.

March 18, 2018

The adopted daughter of Yuri Dmitriev turned 13. Her family and friends – elder sister Ekaterina Klodt, godmother Olga Kerzina, students of the Moscow film school Alexandra and Olga Kononova, who became friends with her during the expeditions organized by Dmitriev, – congratulated her via phone and mails. The girl was glad and pleased to talk with her friends. All the conversations were conducted with the permission of the grandmother, her official guardian.

March 20, 2018

Petrozavodsk prosecutor Elena Askerova requested Yuri Dmitriev to be sentenced to nine years in a maximum security prison.

April 5, 2018

Judge Marina Nosova acquitted Yuri Dmitriev of the Articles «Use of a minor for the production of pornographic materials or objects» and «Commission of licentious acts without the use of violence». A sentence of 2 years and 6 months of restraint of liberty was imposed under the Article «Illegal keeping of firearms». Subtracting the time that Dmitriev had already spent in a pre-trial detention center, the sentence should be equal to three months, during which the historian did not have the right to leave the city.

Beginning of April 2018

Valentina Frolenkova, the current guardian of Dmitriev’s adopted daughter stopped to answer the calls and letters from Dmitriev’s family and friends immediately after the acquittal, although the communication was regular before it. The phone was switched off, the letters were ignored, no news was available about the girl.

April 14, 2018

An appeal was filed by Petrozavodsk prosecutor Elena Askerova. At the same time, the verdict of the Petrozavodsk city court was also appealed by Valentina Frolenkova in the Supreme Court of the republic.

May 12, 2018

The Moscow Helsinki Group Prize was awarded to Yuri Dmitriev for his historical contribution to the protection of human rights. With the permission of the court, he was able to come to Moscow for one day and take part in the award ceremony.

May 18 and June 6, 2018

Although the investigative actions were finished, the adopted daughter of Dmitriev was subjected to intensive interrogation by investigator Maxim Zavatsky with the participation of a guardian and a psychologist. Under pressure from the investigator and his obscene questions, the girl was brought to tears and admitted that she felt disgraced at the end of the conversation. The interrogation was recorded on video.

June 14, 2018

The verdict of the Petrozavodsk City Court was reversed by the Supreme Court of Karelia. The decision was based on the materials of the interrogation of the girl (called a «conversation») and the testimony of her grandmother. It was decided for Yuri Dmitriev to be on his own recognizance.

June 27, 2018

Yuri Dmitriev left Petrozavodsk to visit the grave of his recently deceased friend and the Alexandro-Svirsky Monastery. On the same day, he was detained for violation of his recognizance.

June 28, 2018

A new criminal case under paragraph «b» of part 4 of Art. 132 of the Criminal Code (sexual assault against a person under 14 years of age) was initiated by the Investigative Committee. The same recording of the conversation with the girl, the reason for the cancellation of the acquittal, was used again for a new case. Yuri Dmitriev was arrested in the pre-trial detention center #1 in Petrozavodsk until August 26.

July 15, 2018

Yuri Dmitriev was transferred to St. Petersburg for a third comprehensive forensic sexological and psychiatric examination in addition to the investigative and forensic examinations during the first case. The examination was carried out at the State Psychiatric Hospital #6 of St. Petersburg.

August 5, 2018

21st annual Day of Remembrance at the Sandarmokh Memorial Cemetery. It took place in the absence of Yuri Dmitriev again, so it was both the memorial and solidarity action.

August 18, 2018

After the examination, Yuri Dmitriev was transported from St. Petersburg to Petrozavodsk.

August 21, 2018

The day of the hearings. The arrest was extended until October 26. The court announced the completion of the preliminary investigation in a new case, which was opened on June 25.

August 25-31, 2018

The excavations performed by the Russian military and historical society took place on the territory of the Sandarmokh memorial complex. «The search for the graveyard of prisoners of Finnish concentration camps and soldiers of the Red Army died in 1941-1944 in the battles against the Finnish invaders in Karelia» was declared as one of the main aims of the excavations. This version was disproved by Yuri Dmitriev before his first arrest as a baseless one. Excavations were started without the preliminary examination and substantiation of it. In the excavated pits, the remains of five people were found.

August 27, 2018

letter of relatives of those shot in Sandarmokh in the 1930s has been published. They demanded to halt the excavations due to violations of the integrity of the memorial place and unreasonable disturbances of the remains of the dead people.

September 7, 2018

press conference was held on the results of the Russian military and historical society expedition in Sandarmokh. No participants of the expedition were among the speakers. The results of the analysis of the remains and objects were not presented publicly.

October 9, 2018

The new case against Yuri Dmitriev was combined in one case with the old charges, on which the historian was acquitted earlier.

October 18, 2018

It became known that Elena Askerova, the prosecutor of Petrozavodsk, who had let Yuri Dmitriev be acquitted, quit her post suddenly.

November 23, 2018

The personnel commission under the President of the Russian Federation did not agree on the candidacy of Marina Nosova, who had absolved Yuri Dmitriev, for the post of judge of the Supreme Court of Karelia. After twelve years as deputy chairman of the Petrozavodsk City Court, she was demoted to the ordinary judge.

November 29, 2018

The results of the summer sexological and psychiatric examination were announced by Viktor Anufriev, Yuri Dmitriev’s lawyer. No psychological, mental, or sexual abnormalities were found, the same result with the first two examinations.

December 3, 2018

Alexandra and Olga Kononov came to visit Dmitriev’s adopted daughter in the village where she now lived with her grandmother. They met a girl on her way from school, but she refused to talk to them. Later, Alexandra, an animator, made an animated film, in the memory of this meeting.

December 18, 2018

The first court hearing was held to consider a new case against historian Yuri Dmitriev. The Judge was Alexander Viktorovich Merkov.

The process of disclosure was started by the prosecution. None of the charges was admitted by Yuri Dmitriev.

June 7, 2019

The second press conference on the results of the 2018 excavations in Sandarmokh took place. Sergei Verigin, one of the authors of the theory about the Finnish executions in Sandarmokh, announced that the exhumed remains belong to people shot by the Finns, although the examination did not provide any clear conclusions. The need for further excavations was expressed.

July 24, 2019

The press conference «Sandarmokh-2019: what happens to the place of memory» with the participation of researchers and volunteers studying the history of the place and preserving the memory of the victims of the NKVD executions was organized by the International Memorial.

August 12-21, 2019

The second expedition of the Russian military and historical society took place in Sandarmokh. The places of 11 excavation pits were laid, and the remains of 16 people were discovered. In the request of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Karelia to the Russian military and historical society, it was explained that the «Speculation around the events in Sandarmokh are harmful to the international image of Russia, reinforce unjustified guilt towards the supposedly repressed representatives of foreign states in the public consciousness, and allow to lodge unreasonable claims to our state. It is also a consolidating factor for anti-government forces in Russia» are the justification for the excavation.

October 28, 2019

statement signed by more than 200 Russian scientists, writers, and cultural figures has been published: «The fate of the child warps to achieve unrighteous goals...».

November 15, 2019

The Sandarmokh project (the activities of researchers and activists to search for burial places and perpetuate the memory of people killed in Sandarmokh in 1937–38) was awarded the Yegor Gaidar Prize. Yuri Dmitriev, the discoverer of Sandarmokh, was one of the laureates.

January 15, 20 and 28, 2020

The presentations of a new book by Yuri Dmitriev, «The Place of Memory in Sandarmokh» on which he worked in custody, took place in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Petrozavodsk. Anatoly Razumov was the book’s editor.

February 20, 2020

The scheduled court hearing was canceled due to the poor health of Yuri Dmitriev. He had a severe cold and fever for more than a week.

March 23, 2020

The court hearing in the case of Yuri Dmitriev took place. The term of detention was extended until June 25, 2020. The trial was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

March 26, 2020

An appeal to the Supreme Court of Karelia to change the measure of restraint due to the dangerous epidemiological situation, Yuri Dmitriev’s advanced age and poor health, was filed by attorney Victor Anufriev.

April 8, 2020

The International Federation for Human Rights (Fédération internationale pour les droits humains, FIDH) has launched a campaign to release the arrested human rights defenders. Yuri Dmitriev was mentioned in the statement published by FIDH.

April 9, 2020

statement on the case of Yuri Dmitriev was issued by the European External Action Service: «We urge the Russian authorities to review the case of Mr. Dmitriev, taking into account his age and state of health in these hard times, and to release him. We expect the charges against Mr. Dmitriev will be dropped». A few days later, the main points of this statement were sent to I. V. Krasnov, the General Prosecutor of the Russian Federation, by Markus Ederer, head of the Delegation of the European Union to Russia, as an extra-procedural appeal. In his response, V. Ya. Grin’, the Deputy General Prosecutor, stated that all the legal actions against Yuri Dmitriev were justified.

April 27, 2020

Yuri Dmitriev won an Anna Dahlbäck's Memorial Fund (Sweden) award for civil courage in the fight for human rights.

April 30, 2020

Two cases of COVID-19 were detected in the pre-trial detention center #1 in Petrozavodsk, where Yuri Dmitriev is being held.

May 6, 2020

An open letter of Russian scientists, teachers, and cultural figures urging to change the preventive measure to Yuri Dmitriev due to the coronavirus pandemic was published.

May 7, 2020

The Supreme Court of Karelia has considered the appeal of the lawyer Victor Anufriev regarding the extension of the arrest of Yuri Dmitriev. The decision of the Petrozavodsk City Court was left unchanged.

May 21, 2020

statement regarding the case was made at the OSCE Permanent Council by the United Kingdom, who urged Russia to comply with international human rights and rule of law agreements.

May 21 and 27, 2020

The EU statements regarding the case were made at the OSCE Permanent Council and the Strasbourg meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

June 3, 2020

An open letter of more than 400 scientists from Europe and the USA, who demanded scientific freedom and a guarantee against persecution for Yuri Dmitriev and all the scientists and organizations studying the history of the Gulag and perpetuating the memory of the victims of the Stalinist system has been published.

June 14, 2020

Herta Müller, Svetlana Alexievich, and Jonathan Littell, the well-known writers and laureates of international literary prizes, appealed to Dunja Mijatović, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, with a request to stand up for Yuri Dmitriev.

June 15-16, 2020

The resumption of hearings in the Petrozavodsk City Court. The arrest of the historian was extended until July 25, 2020.