THE 2020 GRANT IN MEMORY OF ANNA DAHLBÄCK
The Foundation of Anna Dahlbäck’s Memorial Fund has the honour of awarding the grant of SEK 50,000 for year 2020 to the historian Mr Jurij Dimitrijev.
Mr. Yury Dmitriev is 64 years old, a researcher, historian and human rights activist in Russia. For the last three decades, he has been locating mass graves in the Russian Karelia and searching through the archives to identify and document the people hidden in these graves after being murdered during Stalin´s regime of terror in the 1930’s. Dmitriev´s effort has resulted in several books with personal details of the liquidated. Thousands of individuals from many different countries were executed, a minority of them were Swedes (the so-called Kiruna-Swedes). During the ”glasnost”-era, Dmitriev cooperated with the Russian authorities but since some years he has been counteracted by them. In 2016 he was remanded in custody for a crime that appeared to be fabricated and he was acquitted. However, he was remanded in custody again for another fabricated crime, which is part of the ongoing historical revisionism in Russia. Memorial, the Russian association of human rights, and a number of well-known intellectual leaders in Russia support him. The harassments and pursuit of Dmitriev, have been increasingly observed abroad, among others by Pen International and Amnesty International. In Sweden, his case has been discussed in the Swedish Parliament and in 2018, the publishing house Ariel released the Russian author Sergei Lebedev´s essay ”On Yuri Dmitriev” in Swedish (”Fallet Jurij Dmitrijev”). The trial of Dmitriev is held behind closed doors and the outcome is uncertain.
In accordance with the regulations of Anna Dahlbäck’s Memorial Fund,
Mr. Yury Dmitriev has shown strong engagement and the courage to stand up for justice. Idealism and humanism are the driving forces behind his work to elucidate what has happened to these victims of crime and to rescue them from oblivion. The following remark of Dmitriev, cited in a newspaper article 2017, says it all:
”I do this because I must. Everyone has the right to a grave, to which their relatives can go. [– – –] Humans without history are just a population. But they who know their history, they are a people.”