“It’s effing unbelievable” (Prudovsky)

The proceedings at today’s hearing of the Supreme Court effectively placed NKVD officers who had engaged in torture during the Great Terror on the same footing as the officers of today’s FSB, entitling them to the same degree of confidentiality regarding their identity (see “Judges” and Executioners, pt 2).

That was the discouraging conclusion of the Court after hearing Prudovsky’s arguments and statements from the Prosecutor-General’s Office and the Federal Security Service (FSB).

Lawyer Marina Agaltsova and plaintiff Sergei Prudovsky (photo Tatyana Britskaya, NG)

Commenting on this result, Prudovsky said, “It’s not healthy to name such names in today’s Russia but I shall go on doing so …”

Prudovsky outside doors of the Supreme Court (photo Tatyana Britskaya, NG)

For a full report, see Novaya gazeta, 8 December 2021 [R]

The following day Sergei Prudovsky added the following comment on Facebook, employing a mild expletive to express his frustration and disbelief at the ruling of the highest court in the land:

“In short, the Supreme Court equated the work methods of the NKVD with those of the FSB and acknowledged NKVD operatives as FSB officers. It’s effing unbelievable.”

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 will today 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 B. Prudovsky and Memorial Society casefiles

Exactly a year ago the judicial board of the First Appeal Court (Central Region) ruled that the rank, title, surname and signatures of the Moscow Region’s NKVD officers at the time 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 the conduct of their 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”?

JC

Thirty Years On …

On 23 June 1992 Russian President Boris Yeltsin issued edict no 658, declassifying legislative and other acts that “served as the basis for mass repressive measures and violations of human rights”. This clearly applied to KGB [NKVD] archives and the Great Terror of 1937-1938. Yet as Sergei Krivenko and Sergei Prudovsky of Memorial noted in April this year [end note] that process has stretched out over thirty years and today is still not completed. The edict specified that it should be finished within three months …

Much has been said and written about the failure to make a clean break with the past in post-1991 Russia, through lustration and an international trial to expose the crimes of the Communist regime – the veteran dissident Vladimir Bukovsky devoted an entire book to the subject. Instead, researchers, activists and relatives of the victims in Russia (and in much of the rest of the former Soviet Union) have spent years gathering evidence of those “crimes against humanity”.

Books of Remembrance have been compiled and published in 72 of Russia’s 83 regions; monuments have been erected at several hundred burial grounds, graveyards and commemorative sites across the country; and ceremonies are held each year to remember the victims.

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