Publicising information from 1938 “would threaten Russia’s security”

As reported before, the Tula Region Court has ruled that it is lawful to restrict access by researchers and the public to the minutes of the Special Troika, the body responsible during the last stages of the Great Terror (1937-1938) for sentencing hundreds to death without investigation or trial.

The text of this ruling, writes Sergei Prudovsky, makes the following assertions:

1. “The date for applying for access has expired …” This statement is incorrect both in terms of the law and the circumstances of the cases;

2. Releasing such information would pose “a threat to the security of the Russian State, to its constitutional system and to the morality, health, rights and legal interests of other persons”;

3. Releasing such information falls under the “ban on spreading information that: [a] could promote war; [b] might incite ethnic, racial or religious hatred and enmity; or [c] is liable to punishment with fines or imprisonment”.

An appeal against this “nonsense” will be submitted before the legally-established deadline by defence attorney Andrei Fedorkov and Memorial lawyer Natalya Sekretaryova.

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During the Great Terror almost nine thousand people were arrested in the Tula Region: 7,678 were condemned to be shot (2,195) or sent to the Gulag (5,484) on the orders of the regional troika established in October 1937 and the two-man commission or dvoika in Moscow (see the Tula Memorial Society’s website, “The Regional NKVD troika” [R]). Finally, to deal with the backlog of tens of thousands arrested across the USSR, “Special” Troikas were set up in September 1938 in the USSR’s Regions and Republics.

(For a more detailed account of the operation of these three extra-judicial bodies and the charges laid against their victims, see the evidence compiled in Karelia over the past thirty years.)

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Portrait

This portrait of Yury DMITRIEV was recently produced by the artist Boris Zhutovsky.

DMITRIEV has been in custody since December 2016, with only a brief period of liberty from January to June 2018 when he was allowed to live at home but not to leave Petrozavodsk.

The portrait was evidently created from photos of the researcher since DMITRIEV was little known in the rest of Russia before his first trial from June 2017 to April 2018.

January, February, March …

When will the verdict in the Dmitriev case come into force? (and the rulings about International Memorial and the Memorial Human Rights Centre)

In posts issued, respectively, on 12 January (“What Next?” [R]) and 14 January 2022 (“What we are doing” [R]), the two Memorial organisations described what lies ahead and how they are coping at present. In the first the Memorial legal team stated that the clock starts ticking once the ruling has been received in written form. Then the accused and their attorneys have a calendar month in which to appeal.

Meanwhile, the European Court in Strasbourg issued an “interim measure” on 29 December 2021 (see text below).

Text of the 29 December 2021 ECtHR interim measure

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As concerns DMITRIEV his attorney has already submitted an appeal on 27 December 2021, the day of the verdict. This was because the proceedings at the third trial, unlike its two predecessors, were clearly biased in favour of the prosecution. For example, not one of the petitions submitted by Victor Anufriev was accepted.