A letter from prison

Dmitriev writes to Anna Yarovaya

<< No 23 (256) 12 June 2017 >>

Yarovaya AnnaANNA YAROVAYA was one of the first journalists to report in depth on the case against YURY DMITRIEV.

Her March article on the 7 x 7 website concludes with a letter from Dmitriev in the Petrozavodsk pre-trial detention centre. It reads, in part:

Dear Anna

Thank you for your warm words of support!

I had no idea that such a banal event as the arrest of “Khottabych” [i] would attract so much public attention. For me, the reaction of ordinary people to the destruction of my family is very important. The family is crucial: it shapes the personality and prompts the individual to action. Any encroachment by the State on the family provokes indignation among normal people. The enormity and presumptuousness of the accusations that have been made against me only underline the “humanity” of our current government.

I do not fear the future. The worst thing that could happen has already happened: our adopted daughter Sveta [not her real name, AY] has been taken away from us. She has lost her family for the second time and, at the whim of the State, has been tossed back into the situation from which, with considerable difficulty, I rescued her eight years ago.

During the eight years she lived with our family, Sveta grew from a small, sick little girl into an independent-minded young lady with a well-developed view of the world, a wide range of interests, the ability to help others, and full health. Sveta on her own initiative chose the Orthodox faith as her main pillar of support in life. She independently decided to take part in sports. That too was a very successful decision. In a single academic year, she won three medals and the Petrozavodsk champion cup for her grade. Sveta became so organically integrated into our family that we forgot that she had not been with us since birth, and Sveta returned that love. […]

How can we bring Sveta back to our family? How can she be raised and given a good education? These are the questions that now concern me far more than wondering how many years the State will give me as a punishment for my civic stance. I don’t see any other explanation for my “sudden” prosecution. […] Whose path did I cross? I have not yet found an answer. But I do understand that everything happens according to God’s will.

So far, I do not understand what role the Lord will give me for the next few years of my life. Whether He has chosen me to be a martyr, or a preacher, or to play some kind of unifying role—the time will come when I will find out for sure. And then He will show me the way. In the meantime, I and my lawyer are battling for our rights; we are fighting against the bias of the investigation and the blatant lies of the charges brought against me.

Meeting Katyushka helps me to stay sane and rational, as do the warm letters of support that I receive from all over the country. That, and my daily conversations with God.

I am following with great concern the events taking place in the country. Unfortunately, the worst predictions are coming true, and I fear that big trouble awaits not just me but everyone.

I am concerned for you. I am praying for you.

Yury Dmitriev

11 February 2017

Pre-Trial Detention Centre No. 1

Published by Оpen Russia on 1 June 2017

[i] A nickname for Dmitriev among his acquaintances. Until his long hair and beard were shaved off in prison, he greatly resembled Old Khottabych, hero of a popular pre-war book for Soviet children (ed).

More on Dmitriev in this issue:

Victor Anufriev (defence attorney)
Dmitriev should be acquitted

Sergei Krivenko (Memorial)
A political prosecution

Alexander Daniel (Memorial)
He roused the Dragon