Thursday, October 20, 2011

Back to reality

It consists of countries where historians are arrested and put on trial for studying important parts of that country's history. I have reported on the case of Mikhail Suprun (whom I met once many years ago when he was researching in London) before: here and here.

Radio Free Europe gives a very good coherent account of the case as it is progressing (and that is not very coherent) and of the actual charges against Suprun.
Four years ago, Suprun and Nadezhda Shalygina, a postgraduate student at Arkhangelsk's Pomor University, started a study on the fate of ethnic Germans deported from Crimea and the Volga region during World War II as "enemies of the Soviet people" to so-called "labor armies" in northern Russia.

One of the goals of the study was to identify those who were deported and chronicle the hardships they faced.

By 2009, Suprun and Shalygina had identified some 20 percent of the ethnic Germans who had been deported to the northern Arkhangelsk region.

Germany's Red Cross expressed support for the publication of "The Book of Memory" based on the results of Suprun's research.

But when the local prosecutor's office announced that the relatives of some deported Germans were suing Suprun for revealing personal information about their families, an investigation was opened.

Dudarev's lawyer told RFE/RL today that on October 17 the plaintiffs gave vague and mutually contradictory testimony.

Dudarev said the plaintiffs reminisced about their own experiences and the sufferings of their relatives between the 1940s and 1960s, but when asked precisely what they are accusing the defendants of, they were unable to answer.
Not surprising that they could not answer - they had not even realized that they had written any complaints. In fact, they denied having done so and were quite surprised that their signatures appeared on the documents.

The trial is, apparently, conducted behind closed doors. But of course.

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