Russian historian Yuri Dmitriev, known for his research on Stalinist repressions, was sentenced Wednesday July 22 to three and a half years in prison after a controversial trial for "sexual violence", announced his lawyer, Viktor Anoufriev.

The latter told reporters that the Petrozavodsk court (north-western Russia) had found his client guilty of "sexual violence" on his adopted daughter and sentenced him to "three and a half years in the colony. penitentiary ".

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A possible release in November 

After having already spent several years in preventive detention, "he therefore has three and a half months in prison [to be done]", continued the lawyer, citing a possible release in November. The prosecution had requested fifteen years in prison against the historian.

This decision was greeted with applause from the supporters of Yuri Dmitriev, 64, gathered in front of the Petrozavodsk court.

Member of the Memorial NGO, specializing in the documentation of Soviet crimes, Yuri Dmitriev rejects these accusations which, according to his supporters, target his work on sensitive subjects going against the official discourse on the rehabilitation of the Soviet period.

"He knows he is not guilty," says Yuri Dmitriev's lawyer

"Yuri [Dmitriev] reacted very positively to this verdict. He is a very resistant person, he knows he is not guilty," said his lawyer.

Yuri Dmitriev was arrested for the first time in 2016, accused of having produced "pornographic" images of his adopted daughter, then he was acquitted in April 2018, an extremely rare fact in the Russian judicial system. 

But the Supreme Court of Karelia overturned this decision two months later and ordered a second trial, this time for "sexual violence against a minor".

Yuri Dmitriev in particular spent nearly thirty years compiling a list of 40,000 names of people deported or executed under Stalin in Karelia, a Russian region bordering Finland. He was responsible for the discovery of one of the largest mass graves in Karelia, at Sandarmokh, where the remains of 7,000 to 9,000 people were found.

With AFP

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