Igor Fedorovich: Dmitriy, what was your impression of the recent sensational political process - the “Decembrists’ case”?
The sentence causes dual feelings. On the one hand, of cause, it is unjust, there was no crime in those fellows’ actions, in the point of view of any civilized state it was impossible to detain them maybe not more than for 15 days but those people spent a year in prison. On the other hand, taking into consideration the realities of our current life all of us were glad that quite innocent people had spent in prison only one year while, according to the same realities, they could stay there much longer. Taking into consideration the Health Ministry case in which also innocent people were sentenced at first to 5 years imprisonment we were ready to any result. It is necessary to remember that at first the “Decembrists” were accused of violent power overtaking, the article which prescribes 12 to 20 years imprisonment. As against some our colleagues I think it was not a nonsense, it was done purposefully. First, somebody wanted to condemn them under this particular article, second, it was a form of psychological suppression, all of my clients told me they were told: do you understand you may be imprisoned for 20 years! Now tell everything. Fortunately nobody gave in, and all the fellows took waiting position.
Now 31 person is liberated, 8 are still in custody but we hope that the Moscow city court where we have appealed against the sentence will correct this mistake. I want to underline again that all our clients are innocent. I communicated with them for a year, I can say they are people of high moral qualities, of course, their place is not in custody, their place is in universities, in offices, everywhere where people who may be useful for the state should be. Unfortunately there is so much injustice in our society now that the most noble people often prove to be in opposition to the society, not even the society but the state, and unfortunately the state doesn’t want to carry on any dialogue with them except the dialogue using the OMON cudgels.
National-Bolshevik “Decembrist” Lira Guskova.
The First time of Freedom!
Igor Fedorovich: I think the authorities will not revenge so meanly to hold the “Decembrists” before end. If the cassation instance doesn’t justify them the conditional-preschedule clearing will not be far off…
I would not like to use such expressions as “revenge meanly”. The authorities do not revenge to anybody. They are too large to revenge meanly to somebody. It is a machine that suppresses everything that gets under it, I think it does it not because of personal hostility but simply for it does not exist. You might have noticed that attitude to any meetings is quite negative now, the attitude to any social activity, left or right, has worsened. Here is the same. But concerning the National-bolsheviks, I hope the situation has essentially changed and the understanding appeared that their real imprisonment only worsen the authorities’ image in the eyes of world community as it proved to be. If you take the story of Lind - he was not let to visit his father before his euthanasia. It shocked Holland. But after some time it comes out that he is not so dangerous to be held in custody. But if he were a common criminal, not a political one, probably he would be let to visit him, it’s a common practice.
Igor Fedorovich: The development of relations between the National-bolsheviks and the authorities is monitored at the example of the last case of the Nikulino court overtaking - the protest action on the issue of the unjust sentence to the “Decembrists”…
Yes, our authorities make conclusions. The conclusions are that as more members of the National-Bolshevik party and the opposition in whole, I mean peaceful opposition, not participants of armed formation, as worse you look in the eyes of the world community. But current image of the authorities is already far from an ideal. Freedom House has considered Russia not a free country. It is rather dangerous, it is not far from economic sanctions, so the state must take it into account. Now one person, Dmitriy Vasiliev, is a political prisoner on the case of the action in the Nikulino court. He is detained, arrested and accused of article 318 part 1. Unfortunately I don’t still know all the circumstances, I can’t make comments, nevertheless, the number of political prisoners has increased by one. I would like to put attention at a very clear feature to distinguish a political case from not a political one. No one is usually detained on average (up to 5 years imprisonment) and small (up to 2 years imprisonment) cases for the first time. If a person is arrested it means not only jurisprudence but politics, too.
Nikulino court overtaking by National-Bolsheviks:
"Freedom for political prisoners!"
Igor Fedorovich: All your clients on political cases are mainly people who committed peaceful protest actions. And would you defend those who would have committed violent actions?
Yes, I think a lawyer should defend any person who applied to him. As a priest, as a doctor who should help anybody. That’s what a lawyer is necessary for - not to look at what a person has committed but to consider that he is a citizens, that he possesses all rights and to help him if possible. To punish him for what he has committed the prosecutor office, the court, the law-enforcement system exist. I’d like to give some common rules how to behave while detainment just now. If the policemen come to your office try to behave quietly. In any event don’t gave in their attempt to provoke you on a scandal. Second, obey their demands. Their demands may be illegal, sometimes you can even see they are illegal, but force is on their side. You will appeal on their actions later. Third, try to contact your familiar journalists, deputies, to invite somebody if possible, and certainly, invite your familiar lawyer. Even if you haven’t got an agreement made with him his presence will facilitate the situation in some way, you are guaranteed from obviously illegal actions such as any application of force on you. It’s a very simple method. Further, if you are finally brought to custody or to police department and you see that the situation is developing in some negative way never, never testify at once because you don’t know neither character of accusations nor what is being planned to do with you. If you have got a lawyer you shouldn’t distrust him at once. First, a lawyer can contact your relatives, can do something for communication. Neither testify at his presence. Besides, always remember about the statement of the Criminal-remedial code article #75: if you testify at the presence of any lawyer you will not be able to reject your testimony later.
Igor Fedorovich: Even at the court?
Yes, if you are testifying after being beaten at the presence of a lawyer the court has no reason not to trust to consider your testimony an inadmissible prove, but if you are testifying without a lawyer you have the right to reject your testimony, and it will be an inadmissible prove.
Igor Fedorovich: Well, due to good lawyers’ work and more and more reasonable behavior of the clients the authorities have less and less possibilities to struggle against the opposition by legal means. Will they pass to physical elimination of National-Bolsheviks, VRY members, and CPRF, too… Different “Nashi” have already appeared…
My forecast is that everything depends on all of us. It is necessary to co-operate with human rights organizations, with mass media, with journalists, to understand that political views are secondary in self-defense and human rights. As it is spoken, we will knock with each other over the wall. Here it is possible to co-operate with anybody, with any human rights organizations, with the European Court. I am often asked a question: you are communists, to you apply to the European Court? Yes, of course, why not? It is necessary to search for defense where it may be found. It should be done correctly, competently and on any case. If you were attacked apply to police to write it down. Apply to human rights defenders.