#19 - JRL 2009-204 - JRL Home

Russian human rights centre slams charges against historian, policeman
November 6, 2009

The human rights centre Memorial has demanded that the case against Professor Mikhail Suprun and Col Aleksandr Dudarev be closed down, Russian news agency Interfax reported on 6 November, quoting head of the centre Arseniy Roginskiy.

Roginskiy said that the charges against the two men had no grounds in Russian legislation. "Any court that is at least a little objective will acquit them," Roginskiy told Interfax.

Professor of Pomor State University named after Lomonosov in Arkhangelsk Region Suprun and head of the information centre of the Directorate of Internal Affairs (UVD) for Arkhangelsk Region Col Dudarev are prosecuted for collecting information about German and Polish political prisoners. Suprun is charged with incitement to exceeding one's authority and breach of privacy, while Dudarev is charged with exceeding his authority, the agency said.

It emerged on 6 November that the case against Suprun and Dudarev is being handed over from the committee's district directorate to the investigations department for the North-Western Federal District "given the special nature of the material of the case and a wide public response it had evoked".

"If you open any book of remembrance of victims of political repressions which tells the story of the (1940s) deportees or the Memorial database accessible to public, you will find the personal data, collecting which Suprun is charged with. Similar personal details of millions of people are published in Russia," Roginskiy said.

"Hundreds of thousands of people in the history of Russia have been repressed, shot and rehabilitated. Does this mean that we should ask their relatives for permission to publish their personal details? What if they have no relatives - does this mean we cannot publish any information about victims of political repressions at all? In effect, the work of investigative bodies is hampering the important work aimed at compiling a complete list of victims of represssions. (Poet Anna) Akhmatova said: 'I'd like to name you all by name'," the agency quoted Roginskiy as saying.

"We are told that information about repressions should be secret. Nobody should know about them. If the worst comes to the worst, Russian citizens should know about them. And residents of other countries - don't they have a right to know? This is nonsensical and absurd. These books and databases are published everywhere; people want more and more people to learn the tragic facts of history," Roginskiy said.

"I do not see anything wrong in the fact that Suprun was setting up a database about German and Polish special settlers with the help of the money from the German Red Cross, an organization whose good name has not been smeared by anything. One should not accuse the Red Cross, one should only thank them. One should thank Suprun and Dudarev that they were doing this work. One should support this work and not stop it," he said.

Charges against the Arkhangelsk historian and policeman mean that the "de-Stalinization of our society has not taken place after all", he said. "We are witnessing a situation whereby everything is closed from everyone," the agency quoted Roginskiy as saying.

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