Thousands of names

A Russian historian says things they don’t want to hear.

He is accused of child pornography; the charges may be a way to shut him up.

While Dmitriev was held in pre-trial detention, a group of Kremlin-backed historians have worked to rewrite the history of one of the largest sites the historian uncovered, Sandarmokh, where 9,000 victims of Stalin’s Great Terror are buried. The new narrative casts the site as a World War II-era burial ground and dilutes Sandarmokh’s association with Stalin. “This is happening across the board,” Galkova said. “We see how convenient it is to switch over attention from the collective memory of the repressions to the Great Patriotic War [WWII].”

You too, huh? We’ve got that here. Shut up about slavery and treason, admire the nice statue of the man on a horse.

Head of a local branch of Memorial, an NGO focusing on political repressions, Dmitriev has uncovered and documented mass grave sites since the late 1980s, well ahead of other memorialization efforts. He is responsible for recording thousands of names of those killed during the Great Terror and his name appears in the pages of Anne Applebaum’s Pulitzer Prize winning history of the Gulag, in Masha Gessen and Misha Friedman’s 2018 book “Never Remember” and in scores of other books.

Applebaum, who met with Dmitriev while researching her book, called his arrest “appalling” and a “profound reversal” in attitudes towards Gulag history when I spoke with her earlier this year for Coda’s documentary series, Generation Gulag. “This is somebody who should be a local community hero,” she told me.

Ssshhhhh we don’t want to hear it.

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