Thursday, February 17, 2022

‘It is Only March 1937 Again in Russia and Not Yet August of that Year,’ Yury Dmitriyev Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Dec. 27 – Speaking after a Russian court increased his sentence from 13 years to 15 years, Yury Dmitriyev, who has won plaudits from people of good will because of his investigation of Soviet killing fields in Karelia and the hostility of KGB officers still in power, said it is important to recognize what month of 1937 Russia has returned to under Putin.

            His adopted daughter, Katya Klodt, reported that in the closed session, the historian said that Russia had still not reached the point it did in August 1937 when Stalin launched the Great Terror but that Russia was again on a 1937 calendar  “somewhere about March” (

            “Dmitriyev’s supporters “are convinced,” Novaya gazeta says, “that the Russian siloviki who consider themselves the heirs of the NKVD and even the Oprichniki have persecuted the historian for his many years of efforts to find those shot at the time of the Great Terror and in general for his work in preserving memories about the repressions.”

            One of their number, writer and activist Lyudmmila Ulitskaya, puts that argument in the strongest possible terms (

            Dmitriyev, she says, “stepped on the tail of a rather powerful beast, and naturally the beast will now bite off his head. That is for sure, because the new sentence for an elderly and unhealthy man is a sentence of death. His guilt has not been proven at all. But since the organization [once the KGB but not the FSB] is still the same … it will act the same way.”

            Ulitskays says that the authorities would be wise to pardon or at least soften the sentence handed down in this case. They would win more by doing that than they can hope to win by getting back a corpse. Having incarcerated an elderly man for 15 years in the camps, they are confident he won’t ever get out.”

            If the NKVD officers of today were more “clever players,” they would pardon him. That would be better for all concerned. But [in Putin’s Russia,] one can only dream of such an outcome.”

For background on this tragic, long-running and entirely invented case, see,, and

No comments:

Post a Comment