A Russian court has sentenced Yuri Dmitriev, a Gulag historian, to prison for allegedly sexually abusing his adopted daughter. The judge sentenced Dmitriev to prison Wednesday for a period of 3 years and 6 months. Dmitriev denies the allegation.
Dmitriev is head of the Karelian Memorial Society, which is part of the larger International Historical Educational Charitable and Human Rights Society (International Memorial). International Memorial is a non-governmental and non-commercial organization that studies “political repressions in the USSR and in present-day Russia and promotes moral and legal rehabilitation of persons subjected to political repressions.” International Memorial’s aims include promoting democracy, rejecting a return to totalitarianism and honoring victims of totalitarian regimes.
Dmitriev also help found the memorial at Sandarmokh, a memorial for a mass grave site. There are over seven thousand victims buried there that were shot under the Stalin regime. The victims represent over sixty nationalities and had careers such as peasants, art workers, clergymen, and military members.
The board of International Memorial posted on their website in support of Dmitriev. The board stated they have “no doubt that Yuri Dmitriev is innocent and the charge is falsified.” They acknowledged his accomplishments and believe he is a “political prisoner.”
In 2016, authorities first arrested Dmitiriev on child pornography charges; he was acquitted in 2018. Authorities subsequently arrested him again on these new charges.
Since Dmitriev served time in pre-trial detention, his lawyer states he could be freed in September.