Dmitriev is an unusual man, to say the least. He is cranky, stubborn, and righteous. He grew his hair long and grew a long beard to go with it. His friends started to call him “Gandalf,” after the wizard in The Lord of the Rings. Picture Dmitriev going off on a dig in his threadbare jalopy (a Niva). He is smoking Belomor cigarettes (nasty). With him is his faithful German shepherd, Veda, a variation on Ved’ma, which means “Witch.” Dmitriev gave the dog that name because he found her on Friday the 13th.
Arriving in a village, he would not approach the people in charge. The authorities, if you will. He would approach the grandmothers, the old ladies. And he would not bring up his subject directly. Instead, he’d say, “Tell me: Where are people afraid to go around here? Where are the forbidden places? The haunted places?” They would tell him. And this led to graves.
Dmitriev played a major role in discovering the site known as Sandarmokh, outside the town of Medvezhyegorsk, in Karelia. At Sandarmokh, more than 9,000 people were buried. They were murdered in 1937 and 1938. Some 1,100 of the 9,000 came from the Solovki prison camp, which Alexander Solzhenitsyn would dub “the mother of the Gulag.” Among the 9,000 were some 60 nationalities. Let’s have a few names, shall we? Father Peter Weigel, a Volga German priest. Nikita Remnev, a carpenter. Prince Yasse Andronikov, a military officer, actor, and theater director. Camilla Krushelnitskaya, an organizer of the Catholic underground.
The name Yuri Dmitriev, by the way, is revered by the families of the dead — the discovered.
Every year at Sandarmokh, there is a Day of Remembrance. It is August 5 (the day of the site’s discovery). For years, Russian officialdom supported this day, and participated in it. Gradually, they fell away, as the government adopted a different tone. In the months before his arrest, Dmitriev felt that they would come for him. He sensed that he was being monitored. When he related this to his daughter Katia, she said, “Oh, Dad, stop being James Bond!”
Source: The Case of Yuri Dmitriev, Grave-Hunter, in Russia | National Review
Anybody surprised that Russia is still Russia…..