Stanislav Markelov has “grown up” from the left opposition. Comrades were glad there was “our” person to trust in a hard situation. At that period of “arising” democracy there were not many such situations but nevertheless…
In 1997-1999 Markelov defended Andrey Sokolov, a communist accused of commiting an explosion of the Romanovs family’s memorial stone at the Vagankovo cemetery and of participation in the Nicholas II monument explosion in Tayninskoe village of Moscow region and of the Peter I monument mining (both last cases were later severed to a separate case - the “RMC” case - without Sokolov’s prosecution). Markelov has achieved the charge diversion from the article “Terrorism” to “Vandalism”.
In 1999 Markelov was Larisa Romanova’s lawyer on the “Krasnodar case” (she was charged of preparing a terrorist act against the Krasnodar territory governor). On that case Markelov has achieved that Larisa was convicted by the single Article 222 part 2, i.e. “Illegal storage of weapon”, the charges of terrorism and a murder attempt were not presented. Romanova was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment with a respite of her sentence.
His defendants characterize him as a person of the delicacy of his sense of right and wrong, a dedicated socialist and anti-fascist. We took upon cases which could not leave him untouched. A talent is great rarity in legal practice. But people say Stas possessed it: Markelov was always able to find original decision in any case. Herewith everybody reminds Stanislav as a brave and hard-line in principal issues person. As Larisa Romanova tells:
- Later he was dismissed from our cases because the FSS interrogated him as a witness on the NRA case on on Ilya Romanov’s case. He referred to the advocate secrets but the very fact of his interrogation helped the security services to dismiss him from left extremists’ cases. According to the law (the Code of Criminal Procedure) a person interrogated as a witness cannot act as an advocate. The interrogation was of such kind: he was pushed into a prison car from the street and driven to the FSS office at Kiselniy lane. There he was told at once: Don’t ponce around, you won’t be all these Moscow terrorists’ advocate.
The time passed evolving not only advocate’s capabilities but Russian “democracy”, too: there were more and more cases. One person was evidently not enough for all. A lot of “Chechen” cases appeared in which Stas was intensively involved.
He was one of Elsa Kungaeva’s family’s lawyers within Budanov’s case. In 2005 at proceedings in Grozniy he represented the interests of the complainant Astemir Murdalov whose son Zelimkhan Murdalov had been in 2001 subjected to torture and allegedly killed aftermath. He achieved excluding the unlawfully obtained evidence from the case, as a result the accusatory sentence against the OMON fighter Sergey Lapin (“Cadet”) was based not on his confession but on objective facts that did not let appeal against it.
Markelov has represented a number of complainants’ and their families’ interests within the case on hostages holding in the theatre centre at Dubrovka, criticizing the authorities’ behaviour during the operation on hostages release.
In the recent time Markelov was intensively working on the case of Chechnya inhabitant Mokhmadsalakh Masaev. Masaev called himself a preacher, argued with the Gudermes Mufti on religious questions and later was kidnapped in September 2006.
As Masaev pointed out later in his appeal to the prosecutor office he had been kept and tortured for several months in a secret prison in Tsentoroy. Just there the Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov had personally met him and stated openly that Mokhmadsalakh had been in custody “by Chechnya Mufti’s will”. The poor fellow was released on January, 21, 2007 only. For a long time the law-enforcement authorities of the republic refused to take the applications from the complainant and his lawyer. Later the Prosecutor office of Chechnya has finally initiated the criminal case on Masaev’s kidnapping but there was no progress observed in it. In summer 2008 Mokhmadsalakh has flown to Chechnya to his sister’s funeral and was kidnapped again. But Markelov had in his disposition an actual agreement for legal aid with Masaev, so the lawyer continued to be engaged in this problem, he strived for initiation of a new criminal case on kidnapping by law-enforcement authorities of Chechnya.
Stanislav Markelov and Umar Israilov who stated in the end of the last year that Ramzan Kadyrov had personally tortured him in the same Tsentoroy prison have prepared lawsuits to the European Court for Human Rights declaring that a prison exists in Chechnya controlled by the republic official authorities where kidnapped people are confined and tortures are applied.
Stanislav did not give up the left opposition’s cases, too: he was the attorney of the “Himki Truth” newspaper chief editor Mikhail Beketov subjected to an attack on November, 13, 2008 in Himki district of Starobeevo.
Besides, he represented the interests of Egor Tomsky - the second complainant in the case of the anti-fascist Alexander Ryukhin’s murder; he took part in the cases on attack on ecological camp in Angarsk and murder of Ilya Borodaenko, on murder of the skater Stas Korepanov; he was the defender of the anti-fascist Alexey Olesinov accused of hooliganism.
There are two most widely “promoted” versions on who needed Stas’ murder. The first one is so-called “ultra-right”. This version is backed with the style of the crime if we suppose that Stas did not impede the regime at all. Like some minors decided to ponce about and to crackdown a “symbolic” for anti-fascists figure. The second version is the revenge of the bandog Kadyrov who does not the whole world to speak of the “Tsentoroy maniac”. All the other versions settle into the framework of the stamp “the murder is connected to his professional activity”. It is very possible some Himki gang decided to kiss the authorities’ ass, it is very possible…
I want to say only the following: whoever had committed this murder, it is a person sticking with the regime’s side by evil will or by folly. Because Markelov fought against this regime as he was able to. As he could. As he considered effective. And he saved many people from its screws. And in many cases he weakened the strangehold of the state machine.
Stas was neither a “grind”, nor a wimper, he was “the first to shoot”. But nobody is secured from a shot to his back… He is not a regime’s victim. He died as a warrior.