Defendant Gets Off Charge in ‘12’ Trial
Published: November 7, 2012 (Issue # 1734)
A criminal case against one more activist has been dropped as what has been dubbed the “Trial of 12” continued in the Vyborgsky District Court on Tuesday, with the number of activists facing prison terms of up to three years falling to seven.
On trial since April, the activists, who belonged to the National-Bolshevik Party (NBP) before it was banned as “extremist” in 2007, have been charged with relaunching the party’s activities, despite the majority of the defendants claiming they were acting as part of The Other Russia, a new party formed by the NBP’s founder Eduard Limonov following the ban.
Having pled not guilty, they described the trial as politically motivated and based on fabricated evidence.
The court agreed with a motion presented by defendant Igor Boikov’s lawyer Ivan Bulgakov on Friday and ruled that his case be closed as the time limit for a minor offense had expired. Boikov had been detained for taking part in a Strategy 31 rally Oct. 31, 2010.
However, when Boikov asked about his possessions confiscated during the search of his apartment, Judge Sergei Yakovlev said that their fate would be decided on when the trial against the other activists is concluded. On Friday, Boikov said that although he was an NBP supporter until 2007, he did not join The Other Russia when the new party was formed.
In September, cases against four other activists were closed on the same grounds. However, the remaining seven face prison terms, if found guilty. Andrei Dmitriyev, Andrei Pesotsky and Alexei Marochkin, who were charged as “organizers,” face up to three years in prison, while Andrei Milyuk, Ravil Bashirov, Roman Khrenov and Alexander Yashin face up to two years as “participants.”
In Tuesday’s session, the judge read out the response from Moscow film critic and television presenter Kirill Razlogov, the director of the Russian Institute of Cultural Studies whom he had previously asked to comment on the qualification of the Institute’s experts Vitaly Batov and Natalya Kryukova.
The defense said Batov, who was educated as a psychologist and claims to have invented a new science called “Psychohermeneutics,” not recognized elsewhere, and math teacher Kryukhova did not have the necessary expertise and legal right to conduct such analysis. The defense also identified the uncredited use of Wikipedia in their reports.
In his lengthy letter, Razlogov confirmed the qualifications of Batov and Kryukova, listing their titles and the conferences they took part in, while Kryukova in her commentary — sent with Razlogov’s letter and also read out by the judge — insisted that it was not necessary for an expert to be educated in political science or social studies. Large sections of Razlogov’s and Kryukova’s letters were identical, as the defendant Milyuk pointed out to the judge.
“It also raises questions about which of them wrote which letter, we’d like to have that clarified as well,” he said.
Batov and Kryukova, who analyzed 27 DVD discs of video surveillance secretly made during the activists’ weekly meetings in 2009, wrote in their reports that the group on the video was the NBP, thus providing the grounds that the investigators needed to bring the case to court.
Batova and Kryukova’s conclusion contradicts the previous analysis conducted by St. Petersburg University professor David Raskin, who concluded that it could not be established from the videos whether the meetings were by the NBP or any other similar group, and a report by the St. Petersburg University lecturer Dmitry Dubrovsky, who was commissioned by the defense and confirmed that it was not NBP meetings that were being shown in the video evidence.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Pesotsky gave his testimony as a defendant. Like Khrenov, Yashin, Bashirov and Milyuk, who testified last week, Pesotsky read out a written statement and refused to answer any questions from the judge, prosecutor and defense, using the constitutional right not to testify against oneself.