Poets rally around colleague linked to espionage allegations

Take note – story published 5 years ago

The acclaimed Orbita group of poets has issued a statement in support of fellow Russian-language poet Dmitry Sumarokov, who was recently arrested by the security services and may face espionage charges, as recently reported by LSM.

Orbita is a poetic collective that has gained international status for its mainly Russian-language publications and performances, and Orbita expressed concern at his arrest for reasons that remain unclear, reports LSM's Russian-language service.

Orbita learned from mass media and social networks that Dmitry was detained by the Security Police in connection with his activities on a Latvian Internet site, where he apparently did technical work, Orbita said on its Facebook page.

“The details of the accusation are unknown, Dmitry himself has not spoken about them - after short-term detention he was released, having signed a non-disclosure agreement during the criminal process."

Orbita said it hoped the investigation would be transparent and fair and that it was "following developments with concern."

The group also drew attention to Sumarokov's past, which shows that he has a considerable track record as a genuine poet of distinction and also that he was active in underground groups during the Soviet occupation of Latvia.

Orbita described him as “a talented and deeply erudite author," who was once the press secretary of the Riga Rock Club and curator of an interactive project that brought together authors of texts and composers from Latvia, USA, Ireland, Japan and other countries.

During the Soviet period he was also an active participant in the underground samizdat scene.

As a writer, Sumarokov has been writing and publishing for a long time. Orbita has previously released a collection of his poetry, Cafe Europe. This bilingual book in 2015 was on the shortlist for the literary award of the year in Latvia.

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