Your voice can help stop the prosecution of Arkhangelsk historians and archive workers
In Arkhangelsk a criminal investigation has been initiated against the Head of the Faculty of Russian History of the Pomorsky State University, Professor Mikhail Suprun and the Head of the Information Centre of the Arkhangelsk Regional Ministry of Internal Affairs [MIA], Alexander Dudarev.
On 13 September 2009 searches were carried out at Suprun’s flat and at his working place at the university. Computers and irreplaceable material were removed.
Professor Suprun is suspected of “unlawfully gathering personal data about a person constituting their personal, family secrets without their consent” [Article 137 § 1 of the Russian Federation Criminal Code]. He is also suspected of “inciting an official to commit actions clearly beyond the scope of the person’s powers and leading to considerable violation of citizens’ rights and legitimate interests” [Article 286 with application of Article 33 § 4 of the Criminal Code]. The “official” whom Suprun incited to “exceed his powers” was Colonel Dudarev; the latter is only accused under Article 286.
These charges are the result of Mikhail Suprun’s research, his work on creating a database of Germans deported during the War and in the first post-War years to a special settlement in the Arkhangelsk region – Soviet citizens of German origin and civilians with German citizenship, as well as of German prisoners of war held in Arkhangelsk camps. This study was being carried out within the framework of an agreement concluded in 2007 between the German Red Cros and the Pomorsky University. The main aim of the research is to preserve the memory of the victims of the Second World War and the post-War period.
The investigators claim that the construction by Suprun of a list of five thousand victims of post-War deportations constitutes “the gathering of information about their private life without their consent”. By “an official exceeding his powers” is meant the fact that Colonel Dudarev provided Suprun with access to archival material needed for his research.
The case has been initiated on the basis of a personal application from a person sent to the special settlement and the results of checks carried out by the regional department of the Federal Security Service [FSB] in the Arkhangelsk region. At the present time FSB officers, probably realizing the absurdity of the charges laid, are continuing to question Alexander Dudarev’s colleagues, trying to find some kind of compromising material against the suspects.
The role of the FSB in initiating this criminal investigation remains unclear. What checks on the basis of which a criminal investigation was initiated were carried out? Is our Security Service really so concerned about protecting citizens’ inviolability of their private life that they are prepared for the sake of that to put aside their direct duties in defending State security?
We assume, unfortunately, that this is the case. The main reason for the criminal prosecution of Mikhail Suprun and Alexander Dudarev is that hostile and unfriendly attitude to Russian and international attempts to study the tragic pages of our past which have on a number of occasions been publicly expressed by the Russian leadership. If the FSB is really the initiator of the “case of the Arkhangelsk historians”, then one must conclude that the body retains the mentality of the Cheka – GPU – NKVD-KGB. They have no interest in the truth about the repressions. Hence the attempts to frighten the Russian academic community, one of these being the case of Suprun and Dudarev.
Mikhail Nikolaevich Suprun is a historian well-known in Europe. It is thanks to his work that academic projects are carried out aimed at objectively studying the most tragic pages of Russia’s history.
Alexander Vasilyevich Dudarev is also well-known to the academic community as a conscientious and knowledgeable archivist who has given invaluable assistance to many historians in their research, as well as in the preparation of Books of Memory of Victims of Political Repression.
We demand the immediate termination of the prosecution of Mikhail Suprun and Alexander Dudarev.
The appeal has been endorsed by Ludmilla Alexeeva from the Moscow Helsinki Group, Alexander Daniel, member of the Memorial Board, Lev Ponomarev from “For Human Rights”, many other human rights defenders, historians, journalists, lawyers and others.
PLEASE HELP BY BOTH SIGNING THE APPEAL AND PASSING IT ON TO OTHERS!!!
You can sign the appeal at: http://zaprava.ru/content/view/2034/9/ (no problem writing in English)
More information about this most disturbing case can be found at: http://khpg.org.ua/en/index.php?id=1255322121 and http://khpg.org.ua/en/index.php?id=1254770164 It is vital that historians and other scholars demonstrate solidarity and prevent a serious set back to the reinstatement of historical truth and remembrance of the victims of repression