The fact that Colonel Dudarev provided Suprun with access to the archives of the Information Center of the Interior Ministry Directorate —archives that were essential to his research — is interpreted by investigators as “abuse of authority by an official.”
The criminal case was opened on the basis of a personal statement made by one of the former deportees and an inspection performed by the Arkhangelsk Regional Directorate of the Federal Security Service (FSB). At present, although FSB officials are probably aware of the absurdity of the charges filed, they continue to interrogate Colonel Dudarev’s co-workers in an attempt to find any information that would compromise their suspects.
The FSB’s role in opening this criminal case remains unclear. What was the nature of the inspection they carried out that then served as the basis for filing criminal charges? Are our secret services so genuinely concerned about protecting the right of citizens to privacy that they are prepared for its sake to set aside their direct obligations to preserve national security?
Unfortunately, we presume that this is not the case. The fundamental reason for the criminal prosecution of Mikhail Suprun and Alexander Dudarev is an inimical attitude toward domestic and international efforts to research the tragic pages of our past — an attitude that has been publicly voiced on many occasions by Russia’s leaders. If the FSB really is behind the “case of the Arkhangelsk historians,” then we are forced to conclude that the mentality of the Cheka/GPU/NKVD/KGB has survived in this agency. They have a stake in making sure that the truth about political repressions is never learned. Hence their attempts to intimidate the Russian academic community, of which the case of Suprun and Dudarev is an example.
Mikhail Suprun is a scholar who is well regarded in Europe. The goal of his academic research is to enable the objective study of the tragic pages in Russia’s history.
Alexander Dudarev is also well known to the academic community as a conscientious, knowledgeable archivist who has provided invaluable assistance to many historians in the course of their research, as well as for his help in compiling the Memory Books of the Victims of Political Repression.
We demand an immediate end to the criminal prosecution of Mikhail Suprun and Alexander Dudarev.Liudmila Alexeeva, chair, Moscow Helsinki Committee Alexander Daniel, board member, Memorial Society Lev Ponomarev, For Human Rights All-Russia Public Movement Yuri Samodurov, curator Ernst Cherny, executive secretary, Public Committee for the Defense of Scholars Karina Moskalenko, lawyer, The Centre of International Protection Boris Pustyntsev and Yuri Vdovin, Citizens’ Watch (Saint Petersburg) Nina Katerli, writer; member, Moscow Writers Union and PEN Club Boris Vyshnevsky, columnist, Novaya Gazeta; member of the federal bureau of the Yabloko Russian Democratic Party Sergei Sorokin, Movement against Violence Alexei Yablokov, chair, Green Russia faction, Yabloko Russian Democratic Party Et al.