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Russian Gulag Historian Detained Again

News Brief

A Russian historian who has spent decades compiling details of the victims of Stalin’s purges has been arrested again by police, in what appears to be a continued continuing campaign of state harassment.

Yuri Dmitriev, who heads the office of the Memorial human rights organization in Karelia in northwestern Russia, was detained as he tried to leave the city of Petrozavodsk to visit the grave of a close friend, according to Novaya Gazeta.

He was previously charged and then acquitted of creating child pornography — an accusation based on photos he had taken of his naked daughter. But the regional supreme court then reversed the decision earlier this month, imposing restrictions on his travel.

Dmitriev was accused of violating these restrictions, and attempting to flee to Poland, a charge that his lawyer has denied.

Official attitudes have hardened towards investigating crimes committed during the Soviet Union.

During his initial arrest in 2016, he was subjected to a psychiatric evaluation that some said was reminiscent of Soviet-era practices. There have been more than 30 similar cases of this practice being employed in Russia and other former Soviet states in the past five years.