Sergei Prudovsky vs. the FSB

Whilst we wait for the Supreme Court to continue its hearing of the case against the Memorial Society, and to decide whether it will make any response to Yury DMITRIEV’s appeal (19 October 2021), the court today will consider the case brought against the FSB by researcher Sergei Prudovsky.

Thwarted by the Tula and Ivanovo Region departments of the FSB in his pursuit of access to files and names from 80 years ago, Prudovsky is demanding a clear response to two questions: Does the FSB consider itself the successor to the Stalin-era NKVD? Can it lawfully conceal the identity of those NKVD officers who carried out the Great Terror in 1937-1938? He will be supported in court by Memorial lawyer Marina Agaltsova.

Sergei Prudovsky and Memorial Society casefiles

Exactly a year ago the judicial board of the First Appeal Court ruled that the rank, title, surname and signatures of the Moscow Region’s NKVD officers were a State Secret. This was specifically in reference to officers Yakubovich, Sorokin and Wolfson who had fabricated criminal charges, and used unlawful means (application of force and brutality) in conduct of the investigations. They were subsequently convicted of such behaviour and had not since been rehabilitated.

I wonder, Prudovsky added then: could this decision itself be qualified under Article 316 of the RF Criminal Code, “Concealment of a crime”?

Shot, Imprisoned, Deported, Rearrested

The information gathered in the 1990s in Russia’s Books of Remembrance about “victims of political repression” mainly derives from the records of the Soviet police and security services.

Even that thin evidence provides glimpses of human suffering that are shocking both in scale and persistence. These examples from the 1930s begin with the forced collectivization of agriculture and end with the Great Terror.

SHOT

Andrian Avdeyenko, an independent peasant farmer, was shot in 1931 (aged 29). He was born and worked in the Yedogon village, Irkutsk Region. Arrested in April 1930, he was charged under Article 58 with “armed uprising” and “the organisation of counter-revolutionary activities”. The OGPU troika sentenced him to death and on 22 January 1931 Avdeyenko was shot in Irkutsk.

Daniil A. Yepifantsev (1889-1933 shot) did not resist collectivization and joined a collective farm (kolkhoz). Nevertheless, he was arrested in 1932 and shot the next year, leaving behind a 41-year-old wife and seven children aged 2-17.

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Detention Centre No. 1, Petrozavodsk

photo Darya Poryadinova, SOTA TV

This is where Yury DMITRIEV has been held, apart from outings to the courthouse, since June 2018.

During his first trial the measure of restraint was eased during the last six months from custody at Detention Centre 1 to an agreement not to leave Petrozavodsk. If he is convicted next week and the prosecution gets its way it will be a long while before DMITRIEV is a free man again.

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Trial to end on 14 or 15 December

When hearings resume on 13 December the defence (represented by Victor Anufriev and Roman Masalyov) will make its closing statement. Yury Dmitriev will then address the court and also pronounce his Last Words at this trial. Word from Moscow is that the trial may finish as early as Tuesday 14 December.

Dmitriev as a free man (March 2018)

Veteran photo-reporter Victoria Ivleva who took this picture is herself currently detained.

Prosecution demands 15 years

In its closing statement the prosecution at Yury DMITRIEV’s third trial on the same charges in the past five years has demanded that his term of imprisonment in a strict-regime penal colony be increased.

“Free Yury Dmitriev!”

This familiar poster now carries another demand: “Hands off Memorial!”

It wants him to serve a total of 15 years as opposed to the 13 years and six months imposed last September by Karelia’s High Court.