On August 22, Petrozavodsk court heard the testimony of the Karelian historian, the head of the local branch of the 'Memorial', the well-known Gulag researcher Yuri Dmitriev, accused of making pornographic images of his under-age daughter. Judge Marina Nosova learned how Dmitriev took the girl to his family, how difficult it was to adopt her and how he feared the child would be taken away. The Dmitriev case is still being heard behind closed doors. Every time friends and relatives of Dmitriev sit in the corridor and wait for the lawyer to come out.
Yuri Dmitriev was brought to the courtroom as a dangerous criminal again. Short and thin, he was barely noticeable among convoy. Just as judge Marina Nosova behind the broad back of the tipstaff.
As before, friends and relatives, about fifteen people, greeted Yuri Dmitriev with applause. Even those who did not know Dmitriev came.
Teacher of Petrozavodsk State University Mikhail Oshukov was asked why he came, and he answered: 'You don't see that every day'. He lives in Finland, his arrival to Russia coincided with the trial.
Journalists of France 2 arrived this time.
Dmitriev's lawyer Viktor Anufriev interceded to open part of his client's interrogation about the possession of weapons, and not about the inviolability of a minor. The request was denied.
Yuri Dmitriev testified all day. By 13 o'clock the lawyer asked to take a break:
'Today, the judge behaved shamelessly. She interrupted Yuri Alekseyevich. I believe that she restricted him to freedom of testimony. Because he talked about the case: about how [the daughter] came to his family, how he sought [custody], sued, brought her up... and he was constantly interrupted, so I asked for a break: 'Let's stop and calm down'.'
After the break, the support group shrunk. But relatives, friends and journalists stayed in the corridor.
At 17:30 the meeting ended. The convoy prepared to lead Yuri Dmitriev out of the hall, relatives and journalists lined up along the corridor. The tipstaves persistently asked to clear the space and move to the other side – allegedly for the security of the escorted. On the way back, Yuri Dmitriev managed to hear only a few words of support from his daughter and friends.
The lawyer insists that there are hundreds of photos, which Dmitriev made to monitor the state of her health, he kept them in a special folder and did not show to anyone, they can not be considered separately. Only in a few pictures they saw pornography – with child's genitals. These photos were made one year apart.
‘So did he make photos in a matter of seconds, satisfy himself, and conserve passion? Did he take a couple of pictures again and satisfy himself in 30 seconds? He believes that this to be revenge for his activities, which became unpopular now. And he says that the last two or three years he felt that something would happen to him. He assumed that, perhaps, someone would plant cartridges or drugs, but he did not expect such a sick imagination. As he said: 'I can not be surprised by the children's genitals, I raised two of them. Those who made it up have wrong orientation.' He spoke quite emotionally today, but you can understand him. He wanted the court and prosecutor to figure out why he did it. They heard it, but the question is – did they understand?
The next meeting will be held on 30 August. Another witness will be questioned – an endocrinologist who sent the child for treatment, where the girl did not get due to the commenced court hearing. In court, the doctor will tell about her state of health. At the previous meeting, two pediatricians from Moscow told about the practice of shooting children on the recommendation of Russian doctors.
The parties' arguments will be heard on September 7, then the court will make a verdict, which is likely to be announced after the election of the head of Karelia.
A well-known researcher of Stalinist repressions, the head of the Karelian branch of the 'Memorial' society, Yuri Dmitriev, was detained in his apartment on December 13, 2016 on suspicion of making pornographic pictures of his adopted daughter. The photos, according to the historian’s defence team, were a diary of the girl's health, who was malnourished when she came to him from the children’s home.
On June 1, Petrozavodsk city court began hearing the case in camera. In addition to producing pornographic materials depicting minors, he was charged with Article 135 of the Russian Criminal Code ('Non-violent sexual abuse’) and 222 ('Illegal keeping of firearms').
On June 22, Professor Lev Shcheglov, D.Sc. (Medicine), president of the National Institute of Sexology, spoke in court. According to him, there were no pornographic pictures in Dmitriev's case.
Hundreds of people have voiced their support for Dmitriev. Among them are writers, scientists, public figures, human rights activists, journalists, musicians, artists, Orthodox priests and those who have participated in the international days of memory at Sandarmokh, Krasny Bor and Solovki of the victims of the Great Terror.