STUMP » Articles » Updates on Vladimir Bukovsky and Yuri Dmitriev » 28 July 2017, 17:41

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Updates on Vladimir Bukovsky and Yuri Dmitriev  


28 July 2017, 17:41

I am not doing so well today, and I really wasn’t doing well 7 years ago.

So I’m going to do a link dump on one of my recent activities: getting more involved in Russian Human Rights campaigns.


I mentioned a press release I helped distribute a couple weeks ago — we had good response to the release, and have gotten additional covereage since there:

LA Times: An outspoken researcher of Stalin’s crimes fights for his own fate and freedom in Russia

A small clearing in a dense northwestern Russian forest marks the site where, 20 years ago, Yuri Dmitriev discovered a group of mass graves containing victims of Josef Stalin’s Great Terror.

Using detailed documents uncovered in KGB archives, Dmitriev was able to piece together the location where Stalin’s execution squads killed and buried more than 9,500 people from 1937 to 1938. The documents contained the dates and names of those killed, as well as the executioners’ names. During the next two decades, Dmitriev worked meticulously to document every victim’s story.

Today, Sandarmokh, as the site became known, is a memorial to the people of more than 60 nationalities buried here, including those from Norway, Finland, Poland, Ukraine and Russia.

But friends and family of Dmitriev, one of Russia’s most outspoken researchers of Soviet-era crimes, say he faces political repression for his work to shine a light on one of his country’s darkest periods.

As the head of the Memorial Society branch in Karelia, Dmitriev was known by his colleagues and friends as a fearless and headstrong individual. For years, his summers were spent excavating in the vast, forested region bordering Finland. He focused on the search for Stalin’s victims near the Solovki prison camp, one of the most notorious of the Russian penal colonies. Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the dissident author of “The Gulag Archipelago,” once described Solovki as the “mother of the gulag.”

The Memorial Society was started in 1989 as a nonprofit human rights organization dedicated to researching political repression in totalitarian states. It brought attention to the victims of Soviet political repression during the last days of the Soviet Union.
Dmitriev’s digging found more than one mass grave in the region, and his work culminated in a book documenting 13,000 of Stalin’s victims in Karelia alone.

The eldest of his three children, Ekaterina Klodt, 32, said Dmitriev made it his life’s purpose to painstakingly document the names of not just the victims, but also the perpetrators of crimes committed during one of Russia’s darkest periods.

“He felt that each victim’s family had the right to bury their relatives, so that they had the opportunity to go visit their graves,” Klodt said in an interview in Petrozavodsk. “He worked all day and night in front of that computer, just poking with his two fingers at the keys all the time.”

The Times of London — Anti-Stalin historian Yuri Dmitriev is accused of paedophilia

A historian renowned for discovering mass graves of Stalin’s terror victims has been put on trial in Russia accused of taking abusive images of a child that friends and colleagues say are fabricated and designed to put a stop to his work.

Yuri Dmitriev, 61, faces up to 15 years in prison if he is found guilty of using his adopted daughter create the images.

The controversial case has highlighted a battle in Russia over Stalin’s legacy. On one side sits President Putin who is seeking to stress the more glorious episodes of the country’s past, in particular Stalin’s victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War. On the other sit independent historians, activists and rights groups.

For more than 25 years Mr Dmitriev has been working to preserve the memory of those caught up in Stalin’s terror.

In 1997, he was in charge of a team that identified the long-sought site of Sandarmokh near Russia’s border with Finland where almost 10,000 people were executed in 1937 and 1938.
“Dmitriev himself found those pits,” Mr Rachinsky said.

With Mr Dmitriev’s participation, the site was turned into a remembrance complex with a stone memorial that reads “Don’t kill one another”.

Rising nationalism and historical revisionism under Mr Putin has turned the tide in assessments of Stalin, and the dictator’s crimes are increasingly underplayed while the Soviet victory over Nazism becomes his defining legacy.

Statues to Stalin have gone up in cities across Russia and this year Mr Putin told Hollywood director Oliver Stone that “excessive demonisation” of Stalin was “one means of attacking the Soviet Union and Russia”. A verdict in Mr Dmitriev’s trial is expected at the beginning of September.

Human Rights in Ukraine: Jailed historian of Stalin’s Terror declared a political prisoner in Putin’s Russia

Exactly 80 years after the beginning of Stalin’s Great Terror, a Russian who has dedicated his life to ensuring that the truth about the crimes committed is known and the victims honoured is on trial. While the charges against 61-year-old Yury Dmitriev, a historian and the head of the Karelia branch of the Russian Memorial Society, are ostensibly unrelated to his work, their link to ‘pornography’ is even less comprehensible.

The supposed ‘expert assessment’ backing the charges is, furthermore, from an institute which has become notorious for politically-motivated opinions. Concern was already high about the case before the trial began, and by now has prompted many prominent Russians to speak out in Dmitriev’s defence and attracted attention well beyond Russia.

The renowned Memorial Human Rights Centre issued a statement on July 25, declaring Dmitriev a political prisoner and demanding an end to his prosecution.

Horizontal Russia – Human rights organization ‘Memorial’ recognized the Karelian historian Yuri Dmitriev as political prisoner

Interregional human rights organization ‘Memorial’ recognized Karelian historian Yuri Dmitriev as a political prisoner and demanded to stop his criminal prosecution.

As follows from the message, a criminal case against Dmitriev is politically motivated and aimed at stopping the activist from commemorating victims of Stalinist repressions, and also at defaming the International Historical, Educational, Charitable and Human Rights Society ‘Memorial’ and other organizations.

The human rights organization appealed to those who were not indifferent to the fate of Dmitriev, to sign the petition on The petition demands to restore the rule of law in the case of Yuri Dmitriev, founder of the memorial complexes Sandarmokh, Krasny Bor, the memorial cemetery on Sekirnaya Gora, author of Memorial Books. More than 30 thousand people have already signed the petition.

The Day of Memory of Victims of the Great Terror will traditionally take place in Sandarmokh on August 5; from August 5 to August 9 Memory Days will be held in Medvezhyegorsk district and on the Solovetsky Islands.

At the request of the editorial board, representatives of the Karelian government responded that they might not take part in the commemorative events on August 5, because it is not the official date of the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repressions.

As one of Jay Nordlinger’s impromptus at the National Review Online:

Russian authorities have any number of tricks at their disposal. For example, they can load up a dissident’s computer with child pornography. Without much doubt, that is what happened to Vladimir Bukovsky, one of the greatest men of the entire Soviet period.

And consider the case of Yuri Dmitriev, a historian. His offense is to have dedicated his life to identifying Stalin’s victims. Putin’s attitude toward Stalin is — ambivalent, let’s say. Anyway, Dmitriev is problematic for the Kremlin: and, man, what they have done to him.

To read about it, go here.

The “here” being a Reuters piece that ran soon after our press release went out.

Reuters – Hunter of Stalin’s mass graves on trial; friends say he’s been framed

MOSCOW (Reuters) – 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.

Yes, human rights are under siege in Russia, but also Truth is being squelched.

Free Yuri Dmitriev (English Language) facebook group


I have heard updates about Vladimir Bukosky, similarly being prosecuted, but in the UK not Russia. He had been scheduled to go to trial on July 24, but due to his ill health, the trial has been postponed to 2018.

In this recent piece on the treatment (or, rather, non-treatment) of Charlie Gard, Eileen F. Toplansky quotes Bukovsky.

The Death Spiral of Socialism

In his 2004 collection of readings for the humanities titled Being Human, editor Leon Kass writes about Russian dissident Vladimir Bukovsky who was held in the USSR as a political prisoner from 1963 until his release in 1976. Kass writes that “Bukovsky reflects on the ‘soul of man under socialism,’ this ‘new type of man’ who is subject to totalitarian rule.” Bukovsky ponders what it “means to retain one’s human dignity as a citizen of a state” when socialists demand a dream of universal equality while ensuring the “suppression and ultimate destruction of the individual, in body and in spirit.”

And while the pervasive rallying cry of socialists is “equality,” Bukovsky writes that “the defining characteristics of a socialist regime is that ‘the individual may not possess the least inalienable right’ and that the system requires ‘slaves, not conscious citizens.’”

Thus, “the regime is immovable, infallible, and intransigent, and the entire world is left with no choice but to accommodate itself to this fact.”
Bukovsky writes that in “a regime of terror the individual cannot have any rights — the least inalienable right possessed by a single individual instantly deprives the regime of a morsel of power. Every individual from childhood on must absorb the axiomatic fact that never in any circumstances or by any means will he be able to influence the regime one jot.”
“Moral opposition” is critical as government control becomes all consuming. But it is frightening that so many millennials who have not been educated on this “ism” are found to favor it. Bukovsky writes that “it is difficult for man to resist this dream and this noble impulse, particularly for men who are impetuous and sincere.” But the reality of this pseudo-nirvana must be revealed.

Bukovsky rails about the humanity that is “sacrificed for this [socialist] dream” and one is reminded of the “shocking images from a Venezuela hospital [that] reveal the extent of the country’s austerity [under socialism]: lacking cribs, newborn babies are placed in cardboard boxes.” In fact, “the babies sleeping in cardboard boxes is just one instance of the demise of health care within Venezuela’s hospitals.”
Bukovsky asserts that the defining characteristics of a socialist regime are that it is “not responsive.” Rather, a “tyrannical society is bent on containing individuals in herds.” In fact, “no decisions can be made other than on initiatives from above.” To counter this, we must “learn to respect the right of even the most insignificant and repulsive individual to live the way he chooses.”

Over the years, Bukovsky maintains that they “were often astounded by the idiotic stubbornness of … authorities and their reluctance to look at the obvious facts, all of which did them catastrophic harm.” Hence, Ji Li Jiang in Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution was told that she had to choose between two roads — she could “break with [her] family and follow Chairman Mao, or [she] could follow [her] father and become an enemy of the people.”

The European Union which is bullying countries regarding immigration, health care and the environment, clearly understands the use of force, thus confirming what Bukovsky emphasizes, “[p]eople attain absolute equality only in the graveyard, and if you want to turn your country into a gigantic graveyard, go ahead, join the socialists. But man is so constituted that others’ experiences and explanations don’t convince him, he has to try things out himself. We Russians now watch events unfolding in Cambodia and Vietnam with increasing horror, and listen sadly to all the chatter about Eurocommunism and socialism with a human face. Why is it that nobody speaks of fascism with a human face?”

Yes, this is specifically about government-run healthcare, but it extends to all sorts of things. Nothing outside the state leads to dehumanization.

Another recent piece quoting Bukovsky: The Writers who Defied Soviet Censors:

The complete process was summarised pithily by dissident Vladimir Bukovsky: “Samizdat: I write it myself, edit it myself, censor it myself, publish it myself, distribute it myself, and spend jail time for it myself”. This popular definition makes samizdat sound like a solitary act, but the danger arose when each individual created a copy for others. If intercepted, these documents could often be traced by the authorities, as most personal typewriters had to be registered with the state. Back-up copies were occasionally made on microfilm, which was smuggled out for publication before being smuggled back in.

A lot of this history has been forgotten in the West once the Soviet Union officially dissolved, but Putin et. al. are trying to bring all that Soviet glory back. People like Bukovsky (who is explicitly anti-Putin) and Dmitriev have exposed the Soviet ugliness, and that is extremely inconvenient for the “rehabilitation” of Stalin and the Soviet Revolution of a century ago.

Bukovsky Center facebook group



And howdy to whoever is linking to me from facebook & LinkedIn. Some of y’all are reaaaally interested in Multiemployer Pensions, I see.

Also, who was looking at CIA sites, especially this page for kids, before coming here? That’s a bit odd.