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The Dmitriev Affair

Deep inside the Russian forests, against the wishes of the authorities, 60-year-old Yuri Dmitriev searches for mass graves from the era of Stalin’s terror against his own people - until one day he is arrested and sentenced to 15 years in a penal colony.

Following Yuri closely, the film paints a shocking picture of the way the Russian state rewrites history and treats its citizens.



Director: Jessica Gorter

Director of Photography: Sander Snoep
Additional Camera: Jessica Gorter, Sergei Markelov & Alexandra Ivanova
Sound Recordist: Mark Wessner
Editor: Katharina Wartena
Sound Design & Mix: Hugo Dijkstal
Colorist: John Terborg
Written by Jessica Gorter
Production & Research Russia: Oksana Maksimchuk
Line Producer: Elize Kerseboom
Director’s Advisor: Edlef Heeling
Commissioning Editor EODOCS: Margit Balogh
Producer: Frank van den Engel

Produced by Zeppers Film+TV in co-production with EODOCS


“Obligatory viewing (if you can bear it)”
Nick Holdsworth - Modern Times Review

“In ‘The Dmitriev Affair,’ Gulag Historian’s Persecution is a Microcosm of Putin’s Russia”
Samantha Berkhead - The Moscow Times

“Among the forgotten graves. Soviet history in the films of Jessica Gorter”
Dmitry Volchek - Radio Svoboda (in Russian)

“An intimate portrait of of jailed Russian histiona Yury Dmitriev proves essential viewing”
Novaya Gazeta (in Russian)

“Heartbreaking film-essay about the circularity of the totalitarian history”
Polina Barskova and Ostap Kino - KinoKultura

“Impressive because of the courage of a 21st century dissident; heartbreaking by the price he and his loved ones pay.”
De Groene Amsterdammer (in Dutch)

“In her down-to-earth, impressive documentary The Dmitriev Affair Gorter shows how Putin's repression is growing.”
Volkskrant (in Dutch)

“A disturbing portrait of Russian historian and activist Yuri Dmitriev.”
Trouw (in Dutch)

“Yuri Dmitriev is an “archaeologist of terror.”
NRC (in Dutch)

“A mind-boggling portrait of Russian activist Yuri Dmitriev”
Parool (in Dutch)

"Impressive documentary"
De Filmkrant (in Dutch)

“The Dmitriev Affair: shocking, moving and impressive… …a monument to the honest loner in Putin's chaotic dictatorship where indictment, suspicion, abuse of power and terror call the shots.”
Laura Starink - Raam op Rusland, Oekraïne, Belarus

“I understand if – with all that is coming at us from Ukraine – you have little appetite to see a documentary about a captured Russian. But do it anyway!
This is a fantastic film that very well exposes the mechanism that also allowed the Ukraine war to happen.”
Derk Sauer - Parool (in Dutch)


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