Monday, November 21, 2011

Suprun case resumes

This blog has been following the case of Mikhail Suprun, the Russian historian on trial for collecting material about the treatment of Soviet citizens of German origin (pretty much as bad as many other nationalities or sub-nationalities) and of German POWs.

The trial was resumed on November 16:
Students were outside the court to show support for Professor Suprun and Alexander Dudarev. Throughout the hearing they stood as “single-person pickets”, taking turns in the biting wind and frost. They carried banners reading: “Maybe there’s been enough repression?”; “Is it really 1937 again?” and “Free History!”

Tatyana Kosinova from the Memorial Research Centre in St Petersburg explains that the court questioned two witnesses, employees of the archives who confirmed that Professor Suprun had worked in the archives, taken copies etc. Lawyer Ivan Pavlov points out that the historian is in no way denying that he did any of this. He believes that the witnesses in fact testified in the defendants’ favour and finds it strange that they were called at all.

“The prosecution did not have and still does not have proof that the information about victims of repression gathered by Mikhail Suprun contained personal and family secrets. They don’t intend to prove it and become immediately deaf to our calls”.

As reported, the charges are the result of Mikhail Suprun’s 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 role of the FSB [Federal Security Service] in the case was questioned when the investigation began two years ago. The account given by Dudarev of the plaintiffs’ testimony last week highlights the concern felt as to who is behind the case.

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.
No, this is not quite 1937 and one must be thankful for that. But the situation is bleak, nonetheless. Is it not time our own historians started raising their voices against this outrage?

1 comment:

  1. Hello!
    I am Supruns speakperson in Sweden I have a blogg about his case he is even on our website