Yuri Dmitriev is a "respected historian known for his uncompromising investigation and documenting of mass graves of the victims of Soviet repression in 1937-38 and Chairman of the Karelia branch of Memorial Historical Society in the Russian Federation," - according to the EU, and the pedophilia charges brought against him appear to have been prompted by his human rights work.
The closed trial on Yuri Dmitiev, who pleaded not guilty to producing pornographic pictures or sexual violence, was accompanied by a smear campaign. Recently, Russian State TV said: "Yuri Dmitriev did not find any Stalinist mass graves. He also did not prepare lists of victims of Stalinist repressions attributed to him. He has never been a human rights activist. A completely false image was created of him".
The trial on Dmitriev has been accompanied with a years-long campaign to blur the memory about Stalin's terror. In summer 2020, the Russian "Military - Historical Society" concluded that GULAG mass graves found by Dmitriev may also be graves of Russian prisoners of war killed by Finns - a claim that has been refuted by Finnish and Russian historians and experts repeatedly. Dmitrev is not portrayed as a historian, but a locksmith and stoker in one of the numerous similar reports.
The justice system in Russia is not independent. "The criminal justice system is still set up to deliver guilty verdicts and acquittals are perceived as the system's failure", - says Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights.
Amid such circumstances, the NGO Memorial declared Yuri Dmitriev a political prisoner and for any appeals to look closer at the investigation are understandable from a moral point of view. The Russian State ombudsman herself asked for access to the case of Dmitriev. According to his lawyer, Dmitirev plans to appeal.
See also: There is a liberal pedophile lobby behind Dmitriev who has never been a human rights activist.