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Dmitriev’s defence demand new assessment of the photographic evidence

The defence team of Karelian historian Yury Dmitriev will petition the court for a new or repeat expert assessment of the photographs of his daughter that the specialists of the Centre for Sociocultural Expert Assessments considered to be pornographic. This was made known on 7 September, writes «7x7»’s correspondent, at the latest hearing of the case against the historian at the Petrozavodsk City Court.

As Victor Anufriev, Dmitriev’s defence attorney, told those outside the court building, the head of the Centre Natalya Kryukova was cross-examined on Thursday, 7 September. The conclusions reached by her organisation formed the basis for the charges against the historian. (An assessment as to whether the photographs were pornographic was made by the Centre for Sociocultural Expert Assessments, drawing on the views of an art specialist, a teacher of mathematics and a pediatrician.)

Victor Anufriev asked the experts to present documents confirming that they had the right to carry out such examinations. They did not possess such documents, he said.

“Kryukova announced that they were specialists, not experts, and were conducting a scientific investigation. That was why the conduct of forensic examinations was not among their main activities. Kryukova said although she was trained as a mathematician, she was a psychologist,” said Anufriev, “She had taken a course in General Psychology at college.”

During the day’s hearing, the defence and the prosecution discussed whether to conduct a repeat examination of the photographs that the first assessment had judged to be pornographic. The prosecutor insisted that the Centre which he had proposed do the work: the defence attorney wanted the work done by a State licensed organisation. This issue will be resolved at the next hearing on Friday, 15 September. By that date Dmitriev’s defence team will prepare a written petition, demanding that a new or repeat examination of the photographs be conducted.

At Thursday’s hearing, the policeman who summoned Yury Dmitriev on 29 November 2016 [to the police station] and spoke with him for four hours was also cross-examined. It was then, in the historian’s opinion, that someone entered his apartment and investigated his computer where the photographs of his daughter were found. According to Anufriev, the young man could recall almost nothing about those events.

“He was very forgetful,” said Anufriev. “He did not remember that he had visited Dmitriev three times. For example, he said that Dmitriev, supposedly, spent about 40 minutes with him [at the police station].”

About thirty people came to Karelia to support Yury Dmitriev: his friends and colleagues from other cities, the rights activist Zoya Svetova, independent investigator Nikolai Epple, and the US vice consul Demitra M. Pappas. None of them could enter the courtroom since the trial is being held in closed session.


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. Other experts shared his opinion.

On August 22, Petrozavodsk court heard the testimony of Dmitriev. He told how he brought the girl to his family, how difficult it was to adopt her and how he feared the child would be taken away. 

On August 30, the court questioned endocrinologist who sent the child for treatment, the doctor confirmed the state of her health.

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 of the victims of the Great Terror. More than 30 thousand people signed the petition demanding to release of the historian.

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