‘The Yuri Dmitriev case is, perhaps, the most important thing happening in Russia right now,’ says Jay Nordlinger. Dmitriev is a legendary researcher in Karelia, the region in northwest Russia. He is legendary for grave-hunting. He finds mass graves of the Stalin era; he identifies the victims therein; and he honors them, he writes in the current issue of National Review:
For many years, he has been associated with a group called “Memorial.” Memorial was founded at the instigation of Andrei Sakharov, the great physicist and dissident. Its purpose is to promote the truth about the past, and to promote democracy in the present. In recent years, the Putin regime has harassed and threatened Memorial. …..
In November 2016, Memorial did something upsetting — upsetting to the Kremlin: It released a list of 39,950 NKVD agents. (Those were the initials of the secret police from 1934 to 1946.) The list was available on the Internet. Then, suddenly, it wasn’t. In Karelia, Yuri Dmitriev was getting anonymous phone calls. Did he have further information on NKVD agents? Would he or Memorial release more? Shortly after, he was arrested.