More than 200 well-known human rights activists, actors, directors, and politicians signed an open letter in defense of Karelian researcher of repression Yuri Dmitriev. All of them called out to follow his criminal case and not to allow the security forces to deal with him. The letter was published on the website of Novaya Gazeta on October 28.
The signatories expressed distrust of the official position of the investigation, which accused Yuri Dmitriev that he "had commited violence of a sexual nature" over the adopted daughter:
"In order to achieve unjust goals, the fate of the child, who has been and is being irreparably mentally injured by such „protection“ of her interests, is broken."
According to the authors of the letter, the actions of the security forces contradict the official position of the country's top leadership, "demonstrating consistent support for the rehabilitation of victims of political repressions and the perpetuating of their burial places, that is, all the work that Yuri Dmitriev was engaged into."
The signatories of the letter recalled that Dmitriev had devoted more than 30 years of work to the memory of the repressed.
"We cannot allow the tragic pages of Russia's history to be silenced and distorted."
Among those who signed for Dmitriev were people from different professions:
Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature Svetlana Alexievich;
Writer Alexander Arkhangelskiy;
Actress Liya Akhedzhakova;
Chairman of the Union of Journalists of Karelia Yevgeny Belyanchikov;
Artist Andrey Biljo;
Poet Dmitry Bykov;
Politician Boris Vishnevsky;
Musician Boris Grebenshchikov;
Writer Igor Guberman;
Karelian journalist Ivan Gusev;
Film critic Anton Dolin;
Yaroslavl historian Yevgeny Yermolin;
Director Andrey Zvyagintsev;
Chairman of the editorial review board of Novaya Gazeta Dmitry Muratov;
TV presenter Vladimir Pozner;
Publisher Irina Prokhorova;
Human rights activist Lev Ponomarev;
Chairman of the Memorial Society Jan Raczynski;
Head of the Komi Republic Pokayaniye Charity Fund Mikhail Rogachev;
Journalist Yuri Saprykin;
Poet Lev Rubinstein;
Head of the Yabloko party Emilia Slabunova;
Actor Veniamin Smekhov;
Director Alexander Sokurov;
Writer Lyudmila Ulitskaya;
Actress Chulpan Khamatova;
Writer Boris Akunin;
Politician Lev Schlosberg;
Politician Grigory Yavlinsky.
In total, there are 204 signatories.
In December 2016, Dmitriev's house was searched, investigators found pictures of his adopted daughter, which he had taken for a report to the guardianship agencies, in his computer. He was accused of making pornography, but declared not guilty in court. In 2018, a new criminal case for pedophilia was opened, the applicant was the grandmother of his adopted daughter.
Signing collective letters in defense of an accused was often the only method of human rights protection of Soviet dissidents.
In 2018, the Russian Military Historical Society began search work in the Sandarmokh forest massif, where Dmitriev found the place of execution of repressed Soviet citizens. The Karelian branch of the Yabloko party spoke against search operations.