Thursday, March 03, 2005

Destroying the Evidence

Elena Bonner, widow of the Soviet dissident and human rights activist Andrei Sakharov, writes at PRIMA about the Beware, religion! trial currently in progress in Moscow, and points to some precedents:
Two examples:

1. Stalin: when Raul Wallenberg died in prison, the prison doctor asked in his report what should be done with the corpse. Kabulov (a minister at the time) did not arrange for a post mortem, but decided on cremation. Thus to this day we do not know whether Wallenberg died of a heart attack or received a bullet in the nape of his neck.

2. Gorbachev: when the party secretary had Andrei Sakharov returned from Gorky, Sakharov requested his manuscripts and diaries, taken from him in various searches or just stolen, be returned to him. He was told they no longer existed. And here in my hands is an order from the then minister Kryuchkov for the 570 volumes of the Sakharov-Bonner case to be incinerated. And this dirty deed was indeed carried out in the months when the people’s deputy Sakharov made his request.

Now the time of colonel Putin. The demand of the prosecutor to destroy the pictures of the artists who took part in the exhibition Beware, religion! – the “evidence of crime” – only shows there was no crime. Times may come and go, but the handwriting of the organs of state remains the same. Criminals, whether murderers, robbers, or bent courts with investigation and prosecutor; they always destroy evidence .

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