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.
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.)
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
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.
See Why Dmitriev? (1)
On 27 December 2021, the Petrozavodsk City Court in Karelia will deliver its third verdict in the case of Yury DMITRIEV. The highest court in the land remains silent; lawyers from Memorial’s Human Rights Centre have submitted an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
The court in Karelia will be serving an “unprecedented” third judgement on issues thoroughly aired at Dmitriev’s two previous trials where he was twice acquitted of the self-same charges.
Yury Dmitriev and Victor Anufriev, March 2018
The republic’s High Court decided otherwise, quadrupling the sentence for sexual abuse of a minor, and returning the charges of child pornography and non-violent abuse to be considered a third time.
Dmitriev’s defence attorney Victor Anufriev has demonstrated, twice, that his client has no charge to answer. Meeting the accusations head on with testimony from a succession of experts, Anufriev has shown within the framework of current legislation and the procedures of the Russian judicial system that Yury DMITRIEV is innocent. If he is now convicted the decision will be based not on the rule of law or established procedure but on other extra-judicial criteria.
Much of the discussion in the first two cases, as journalist Nikita Girin showed, concerns the kind of photos and parental behaviour to be found in any family. So what has driven this relentless persecution? Earlier events and the timing of the last few days, as the Memorial Human Rights Centre and the Memorial Society themselves face liquidation by the courts, offer a further suggestion.
Pursuing a Loner
Dmitriev and the evidence against him “fit the bill” like none other.
Potential supporters in Russia, not to mention the West, would have second thoughts about anyone accused of “child pornography” or the “sexual abuse” of a minor – offences regarded in the West with a strong and barely rational horror.