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  • INTERFAX-UKRAINE 09:54 21.02.2019
    Poroshenko at UNGA: Ukrainians urge Guterres to put pressure on Moscow for release of Ukrainian sailors

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says that the Ukrainian sailors captured by Russian security forces near the Kerch Strait in November 2018 and illegally kept in the Moscow detention centers are prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention and called Secretary-General of the United Nations Antnio Guterres on behalf of Ukrainians to exert pressure on Moscow for their release.

    "Last November the Russian naval forces committed a direct, brutal and unprovoked attack on Ukrainian warships in the international waters of the Black Sea. Russia's actions fall exactly under the definition of aggression according to UN General Assembly Resolution of 1974. As a result, the vessels were damaged and seized, 24 crew members, including three wounded, were captured and are now in illegal detention in Russia. I want to stress that they are not criminals; they must be treated as prisoners of war under Geneva Conventions," Poroshenko said at a UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City on February 20.

    The Ukrainian president recalled that the Russian authorities ignore the numerous appeals of the international community for the immediate release of the illegally detained Ukrainian sailors.

    "Today I brought with myself an appeal to the Secretary General to press on Moscow to release the Ukrainian crewmembers. It was signed by thousands of Ukrainians over the last few days. And I speak on behalf of all of them. We sincerely count on your support," he added.

    Там де ╓ Укра╖нц╕, там ╓ Укра╖на!

    Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


    • RFE/RL Christopher Miller February 20, 2019 13:36 GMT
      It Was A Tragedy Then. We Have Another Tragedy Now.' Ukrainians Rue Lack Of Justice For Euromaidan Killings

      KYIV -- Olha Pasko and Valentina Riklyvska shed solemn tears as they hang paper angels on a hedgerow running along Kyiv's Institutska Street, the site of a bloody and decisive confrontation exactly five years ago between pro-democracy protesters and security forces during Ukraine's Euromaidan uprising.

      But the women recall the events, which cleaved the country and ousted a pro-Moscow president but also set the stage for a Russian invasion and a five-year war, as if they were yesterday.

      "I was making food in the [field] kitchen to support our Maidan," Pasko, who made frequent trips from her nearby office to aid the protest effort, says of February 19, 2014.

      Both women's memories are especially vivid when it comes to the heavily armed security forces opening fire on their fellow Ukrainians here, spilling their blood into the cracks between well-worn cobblestones.
      A priest stands in the lobby of the Hotel Ukraine, surrounded by the bodies of Euromaidan protesters killed during clashes with riot police in Kyiv on February 20, 2014.

      "Fire and smoke were everywhere," Pasko says. "It was a war."

      Riklyvska can still see the limp, bleeding bodies being carried on stretchers to medical stations on Independence Square, dubbed Maidan.

      "Many of them were so young," she says, gesturing toward the faces on faded makeshift memorials at spots where protesters were cut down by gunfire -- tree trunks used for cover, a barrier beside the entrance to a hotel whose lobby was transformed into an operating room, the base of a footbridge where the protesters' last barricade stood. "It's an absolute shame."

      The paper angels the women are hanging were made by students at a school for the blind to be placed here to watch over their souls, they explain.

      While great attention has been paid by Ukraine's civil society to those who were killed, known as the Heavenly Hundred, Pasko, Riklyvska, and many other Ukrainians feel that authorities have devoted too little attention to the question of justice.
      Antigovernment protesters stand behind burning barricades during a face-off against police in Kyiv on February 20, 2014.

      "It was a terrible tragedy then. And we have a terrible tragedy now," Riklyvska says. She claims that politicians prefer instead to pay lip service and simply lay flowers to the victims.

      Petro Poroshenko, the post-Euromaidan president facing a tough reelection battle next month after stalling on crucial judicial reforms and failing to prosecute organizers of the Euromaidan killings, escorted European Council President Donald Tusk to the site on February 19 to pay tribute to the Heavenly Hundred.

      Meanwhile, the status of the official investigation into the killings appears to be up for debate, to the chagrin of many Ukrainians.

      By the end of 2018, the Prosecutor-General's Office had identified 441 suspects, most of them former law enforcement officers but also city administration officials, prosecutors, and judges, according to research by Amnesty International.
      A man places flowers at the memorial to the Heavenly Hundred in Kyiv on February 20.

      In all, 288 individual cases were said to have been sent to court. Fifty-two cases had already resulted in court decisions, including 48 convictions, but only nine custodial sentences were handed down, Amnesty International added. None of those given a prison sentence was a former police officer, the group said, nor had anyone ever identified as ordering or carrying out the February 20, 2014, killings been found and put on trial.

      A Ukrainian court last month found the president who was in charge at the time, Viktor Yanukovych, guilty in absentia of treason and undermining Ukraine's territorial integrity when he invited Russia to intervene militarily amid the unrest. The accompanying 13-year sentence was applauded in Kyiv, but Yanukovych, who is safely residing under state protection in Russia, is unlikely to serve a day of jail time.

      On February 1, Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko announced that his office had completed its probe and was ready to take the resulting cases to court.

      But he was contradicted two days later by his own chief of special investigations, Serhiy Horbatiuk, who said "the investigation is not over."

      "Five years is a long time to wait when it comes to justice, and for most victims who suffered at the hands of Ukrainian police, justice is still not even in sight," Colm O Cuanachain, senior director at the Office of the Secretary-General of Amnesty International, said in Kyiv on February 19. "Promises were made, strong words were said by the post-Yanukovych authorities, but time and facts speak volumes."

      He added: "Until all those responsible, including those in command, are brought to account, there can be no sense of justice."

      In a symbolic move, the Ukrainian government has broken ground on a new Maidan memorial that will run the length of Institutska Street, now also known as Avenue Of The Heavenly Hundred.

      Yuriy Kovalchuk, a retired teacher who protested on Independence Square in 2014 and returned to the site on February 19, says he appreciates the gesture but it does not compensate for the lack of accountability over the deaths of his friends and fellow protesters.

      "A hundred people paid with their lives...They gave Ukraine everything they had," he says, running his hand over his face. Gesturing to a rendering of the new memorial and two stones marking what will be its entrance, he adds: "They're only given some rocks to remember them."

      Там де ╓ Укра╖нц╕, там ╓ Укра╖на!

      Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


      • Halya Coynash The Dmitriev Affair
        The Life's Work and Trial of Yury Dmitriev

        Telling the truth about Stalin and the Great Terror gets historians arrested in Russia
        31 January 2019
        Russia laid on a huge military parade on 27 January 2019 to mark the 75th anniversary of the ending of the Siege of Leningrad. Kremlin-loyal media and commentators whipped up a hate campaign, worthy of their Soviet predecessors, against German journalist, Silke Bigalke, who had criticized this dancing on the bones of the million Leningrad residents who died during the Siege, There were, in fact, many Russians who felt disturbed by a military parade, rather than sombre remembrance of the victims, including some

        Yury Dmitriev named the victims of Stalins Terror, let him go free!
        One-person picket on Dmitrievs birthday, 28 January
        (For six hours, one demonstrator after another maintained this protest outside the offices of the Presidential Administration in Moscow)

        How many other historians preferred to remain silent cannot be known, but the number is likely to be rising. Since Russian President Vladimir Putin first came to power, the narrative about Russias Soviet past has changed dramatically, as has the level of freedom to express divergent views. There are also two historians behind bars. Although Yuri DMITRIEV and Sergei Koltyrin are purportedly facing non-political charges, it was no accident that, after the recent arrest of Koltyrin, a public discussion on the subject both men were involved in, was cancelled. Documenting the crimes and the perpetrators of Stalins Terror has become dangerous in Putins Russia.

        Little is now known of Koltyrins case since, almost certainly under FSB pressure, he agreed to renounce the services of the same lawyer who is defending Dmitriev.

        The FSB has had no success in Dmitrievs case, neither in breaking his will nor in convincing others that this is not a politically-motivated prosecution.

        Dmitriev turned 63 on 28 January. Although he was originally arrested in December, 2016, this was only his second birthday in Russian detention. By January 2018, the charges against him had been so demolished during the trial that he was, unexpectedly released under house arrest and then, on 5 April he was acquitted of the main charge.

        Judges in Russian political trials do not make decisions for themselves, and there must have been orders from higher up to pass such a ruling. What is not clear is whether it was always intended that the acquittal would be overturned a month later, and Dmitriev rearrested on both the same charges, and some additional and especially absurd charges.

        Dmitriev is both a world-renowned historian and the head of the Karelia branch of the Memorial Society which has faced constant harassment from the state over recent years. It was Dmitriev and his Memorial colleagues who uncovered the mass graves of victims of the Great Terror of 1937/38 at the Sandarmokh Clearing in Karelia and helped to make it a place of remembrance visited by people from all over the world. They were supported and assisted by Koltyrin, the Director of the Medvezhyegorsk District Museum, which covers Sandarmokh, since 1991.

        Under Putin, who is himself a former KGB officer, there has been a noticeable shift towards rehabilitating the perpetrators of the Soviet Terror and muffling information about the victims. The results are evident in the record number of Russians who have a positive attitude to Stalin whose portrait, according to Russian rights lawyer Ivan Pavlov, often hangs in FSB offices.

        Dmitriev spent 30 years of his life investigating the crimes of the Soviet regime, uncovering the graves of its victims and, increasingly, identifying the perpetrators. Although many assumed that the criminal charges were in reprisal for this activity, it remained unclear at what level the decision had been made.

        While there is still no proof as such, a shocking attempt to rewrite history about the Terror effectively coincided with his arrest and trial. It was learned in August 2018 that Russias Military History Society was to begin excavations at Sandarmokh. This body was created by Putin in December 2012, in order to consolidate the forces of state and society in the study of Russias military-historical past and counter efforts to distort it. It is headed by Russias Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky, and has initiated such controversial moves as the creation of a museum and bust of Stalin in Khoroshevo (Tver oblast).

        Там де ╓ Укра╖нц╕, там ╓ Укра╖на!

        Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


        • Dmitriev Pt 2

          The excavations were based on unsubstantiated claims that first emerged in June 2016, six months before Dmitrievs arrest, that Sandarmokh could hold the graves of Soviet prisoners of war held in Finnish concentration camps and then killed and buried at Sandarmokh during the Second World War.

          The aim of this project, in which the activities of two supposed historians appeared to be closely coordinated with the FSB and state media, was clearly to suggest that the mass graves might have nothing to do with the Terror, and to discredit Memorial (more details here).

          Koltyrins arrest in October 2018 came a month after he made his opposition quite clear to these contentious excavations. As mentioned, his arrest prompted local deputies to cancel a planned discussion of the developments at Sandarmokh.

          Dmitriev was arrested on 13 December 2016 and charged with preparing pornography involving a minor (Article 242.2 of Russias criminal code) and depraved actions with respect to a child under the age of 11 (Article 135). Both these apparently serious charges pertained solely to a folder filed on his computer, and never circulated, which contained 114 photos of his adopted daughter Natasha. The little girl had been painfully thin and in poor health at three years old, when he and his former wife took her from the childrens home, and the authorities had themselves advised him to monitor her development. Each of the photos, taken between 2008 and 2015 recorded her weight and height.

          It was almost certainly hoped that the case, which apparently involved child pornography, would turn people away from Dmitriev and also discredit Memorial. It did nothing of the kind. The defence brought in proper experts, as opposed to the mathematician, teacher and art historian who obligingly perceived pornography in just nine of the 114 photos. They dismissed the allegations outright, finding no whiff of pornography and confirming that it was common practice to take such photos for monitoring development.

          On 5 April 2018, Dmitriev was acquitted of the pornography charges, however this acquittal was overturned on 14 June, and the case sent back for retrial. On 27 June, he was re-arrested, with the investigators also charging him with violent acts of a sexual nature, with the purported victim once again his adopted daughter.

          The absurdity of this extra charge cannot be overstated. Dmitriev had not seen Natasha since his initial arrest, which means that the new charges pertained to the same period of time as that of the pornography charges that had been so debunked in court. Had there been any possibility of charging Dmitriev with direct abuse of his daughter, it would have been reflected in the original charges, not added in pique after the pornography allegations were dismissed by experts.

          One of the main victims of this sordid case is Natasha, who was taken from the only family she had ever known to live with her biological grandmother who had left her in a childrens home when she was three years old. It appears that the young girls grandmother is now helping the FSB, and even has a lawyer who claimed on Russian state television that Dmitriev or his family were putting the young girl under pressure, an allegation dismissed by Dmitrievs lawyer, Viktor Anufriev. Such claims cannot change the crucial fact that the prosecutions case is based on original charges which were convincingly disproven and new charges which are, quite simply, over two years too late and lacking in any credibility.

          Halya Coynash Kharkiv Human Rights Group 29 January 2019

          Там де ╓ Укра╖нц╕, там ╓ Укра╖на!

          Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


          • Gulag grave hunter unearths uncomfortable truths in Russia
            Alec Luhn in Sandormokh
            Thu 3 Aug 2017 01.00 EDT

            Supporters of Yury Dmitriyev say he is being held as a political prisoner by a state that would rather forget Soviet repression

            The pine trees creak and rustle ominously beneath even the faintest breeze, as if the vast forest between Lake Onega and the Finnish border remains reluctant to give up its dark secrets.

            The secret police brought 6,241 gulag prisoners to these woods during Joseph Stalins Great Terror in 1937-8, put them face-down in pits dug in the sandy soil, and shot them in the back of the head with a revolver. As their remains decayed, the earth above each mass grave sank into the ground.

            It was these pockmarks in the forest floor that helped Yury Dmitriyev and other members of Memorial, Russias oldest human rights organisation, find this site at Sandormokh in 1997. It is one of the largest mass graves in the former Soviet Union.

            With Memorial, the 61-year-old gulag grave hunter from nearby Petrozavodsk has dedicated much of three decades to the effort to return the victims of Soviet repressions from state-sponsored oblivion, publishing several books of names, dates and locations of executions since the discovery.

            For our government to become accountable, we need to educate the people, Dmitriyev said of his efforts to uncover details of Soviet repression.

            But not everyone wants to remember this forgotten history, especially amid Russias current patriotic fervour. The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, said in June that excessive demonisation of Stalin has been a means of attacking the Soviet Union and Russia, and several branches of Memorial have been declared foreign agents in recent years.

            For the first time in two decades Dmitriyev will miss the annual day of remembrance at Sandormokh on 5 August. Arrested in December and charged with taking indecent photographs of his 12-year-old adopted daughter, which he denies, he is being held in custody during the ongoing trial. He faces 15 years in prison if convicted.

            An expert in sexual disorders has said the photographs are not pornographic, and Memorial and others argue that Dmitriyev is a political prisoner hounded for exposing a side of history that complicates the Kremlins glorification of the Soviet past.

            He is supported by his adult daughter, who said he took the photographs to document the childs improving health in case social services attempted to remove her. The girl had been malnourished when Dmitriyev and his wife took her in, age three, and according to Dmitriyevs lawyer, the photographs were stored in a folder called childs health. Each had a note about her height, weight and general health and many were taken ahead of social worker visits.

            More than 30,000 people have signed an online petition calling to restore legality and justice in his case. Meanwhile, state media have run smear pieces painting Dmitriyev as a paedophile and Memorial as anti-government subversives.

            Like in the period of the Great Terror, when political reprisals, murders, extrajudicial executions became the norm of Soviet life, so today persecution, arrests, beatings at rallies, the closing of independent organisations have become the norm of life in Russia, said Irina Flige, the director of St Petersburg Memorial, who discovered Sandormokh with Dmitriyev.

            The majority thinks that the regime can do anything with an individual for the sake of its own interests.

            Located near the Solovetsky islands, the birthplace of the gulag, the Karelia region in north-west Russia is where tens of thousands of prisoners were shot or died digging the infamous White Sea canal for Stalins first five-year plan. As an aide to a regional official, Dmitriyev first began searching for their graves after being summoned to deal with remains uncovered by an excavator at a military base in 1988.

            Soon he began trying to identify victims of the mass executions, which were carried out covertly. During the brief period when secret police archives were opened up in the 1990s, Dmitriyev managed to read thousands of execution orders into his tape recorder. He could then try to match each group of skeletons he found to a specific order.

            It was Fliges long search for the disappeared Solovetsky etape, a group of 1,111 prisoners including many leading political, cultural and religious figures from across the Soviet Union, that led them to Sandormokh. Following hints from the testimony of the executioner Mikhail Matveyev, Flige, Dmitriyev and Veniamin Iofe discovered the telltale pockmarks in the woods on the road to the White Sea canal and began digging.

            It wasnt just bones but the bones of people I knew, whose children I knew, Flige recalled.

            Today, wooden posts stretch hundreds of yards back into the woods at Sandormokh with photographs and names of victims.
            The local authorities initially backed the memorial, helping build an access road and a chapel and sending representatives to the day of remembrance on 5 August. But last year, for the first time, no government or church officials attended.

            The political temperature at Sandormokh has been rising since at least 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea. The Ukrainian delegation, typically the largest, skipped the ceremony that year, and in a speech Dmitriyev condemned Russias support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.

            He also suggested the Russian government was failing to fully acknowledge its predecessors crimes, a controversial stance amid the continuing surge of patriotism and Soviet nostalgia. Stalin monuments have popped up in several towns across the country, and the late dictator topped a survey in June for most outstanding person of all time. Last summer, state media began reporting the unfounded claim that Sandormokh actually holds Soviet soldiers killed by the Finns.

            In November state television accused Memorial of helping those who aim to destroy the Russian state after it published information on 40,000 Soviet secret police officials and Dmitriyev reportedly received angry phone calls about his own participation in the project.

            Dmitriyev was unexpectedly arrested the next month after an anonymous source tipped police off that nude photographs of his adopted daughter Natasha were stored on his computer.

            Dmitriyevs adult daughter, Yekaterina Klodt, told the Guardian that her father, who had always obsessively documented human remains with photographs and measurements, had taken the shots to show Natasha was healthy in his care. Adopted himself as a child, Dmitriyev had trouble receiving permission to adopt her from an orphanage in 2009, and he wanted to document that the underweight child was regaining her health, Klodt said. He also grew worried after one of her teachers raised a furore over ink stains on the childs skin she mistook for bruises.

            Lev Shcheglov, the president of the National Institute of Sexology in Moscow, testified at the trial that the photographs could not be considered pornographic or abusive. The prosecution is pushing ahead with the case, which also includes charges of perverted acts and illegal possession of a firearm, namely the barrel of a 60-year-old hunting rifle Dmitriyev found, according to his lawyer.

            Dmitriyevs real crime, his supporters believe, is his criticism of the government and work with activists from geopolitical foes including Poland and Ukraine to commemorate their countrymen at Sandormokh.

            Russia doesnt need this now, said Anna Yarovaya, a journalist for news site 7x7. Were searching for enemies everywhere, including abroad, but for him, everyone was a friend.

            Книги памяти России
            Поминальные списки Карелии, 19371938: Уничтоженная Карелия.
            Возващённые имена

            Books of memory of Russia
            Memorial lists of Karelia, 19371938: Destroyed Karelia.
            Returned Names


            В XX веке на просторах России погибли и пропали без вести во время войн, революций и репрессий миллионы граждан. Наших соотечественников и иностранных подданных. Спустя долгие десятилетия имена погибших и пропавших без вести возвращаются к нам в Книгах памяти. Подробнее о проекте


            In the 20th century, millions of citizens died and went missing in the expanses of Russia during wars, revolutions and repressions. Our compatriots and foreign nationals. After many decades, the names of the dead and missing are returned to us in the Books of Memory. More about the project

            06.03.2019 Презентация двухтомной библиографии Александра Солженицына в РНБ
            05.03.2019 Ко дню памяти Анны Ахматовой
            01.03.2019 Найдено кладбище заключённых Вятлага. Давно пора рассекретить все тайные места массовых казней и погребений
            25.02.2019 Посвящается жертвам политических репрессий Геленджика и Геленджикского района. Редкая Книга памяти
            Все новости

            03/06/2019 Presentation of Alexander Solzhenitsyn's two-volume bibliography in the NLR
            03/05/2019 To the day of memory of Anna Akhmatova
            03/01/2019 Cemetery of Vyatlag prisoners found. It is high time to declassify all secret places of mass executions and burials
            02/25/2019 Dedicated to the victims of political repression of Gelendzhik and Gelendzhik district. Rare Book of Memory
            All news


            Там де ╓ Укра╖нц╕, там ╓ Укра╖на!

            Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp