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Mikhail Kosenko's Last Words In Court Before Sentencing

2 October 2013 

‘The authorities violate the law, but then, when they meet resistance, pretend to be the ones who uphold the law, with their Article 318’ 

Source: Novaya gazeta  

Photo: Radio Svoboda

On 2 October 2013 during the court hearings the prosecutionег demanded that Mikhail Kosenko, accused of taking part in alleged riots on Bolotnaya Square on 6 May 2012, be sentenced to compulsory psychiatric treatment. Lawyers acting for Mikhail Kosenko insist that the case against him should be dismissed, since nothing that he did constituted a crime. 

The sentence is to be handed down on 8 October at 14.00 in Zamoskvoretsky court.

Below is the final speech by Mikhail Kosenko in court. According to the psychiatric assessment on which the Judge is relying, Mikhail Kosenko has been found not responsible for his actions.

— The greatest value in our country is freedom. But it is just this of which the majority of people in our country to a greater or lesser extent are being deprived. First of all, this concerns prisoners. A huge number of people in prisons and camps are there for no reason, and no one helps them…And those who are there for committing a crime, do not deserve the conditions they have to live under. As the prisoners themselves say, no one could be really made better after serving time in prison. The situation of people with psychiatric conditions in prison is hard, and the hardest thing for them is — haloperidol, a banned substance. This drug has severe side effects and there have been many instances of death; it causes muscle tremors, stiffness, and pain.

We, the people of Russia, are used to suffering. In Russia an eastern form of society is being built: freedom is taken away in exchange for certain material comforts. The authorities base their propaganda on economic indicators: the sums of money spent and the results. But money does not bring happiness. This is an ancient truth, although it is being contested nowadays. Happiness is in the freedom of people. There are many countries where the material level of life is lower than in Russia, but the level of satisfaction with life is significantly higher. Our people are used to living in poverty, and the smallest level of material provision seems to them to be a real achievement.

Freedom is independence from evil. Real possibilities…In our country there are huge possibilities and to realize them, what is needed is freedom of various kinds, but these freedoms don’t exist, or they are restricted. Freedom of the media…The most important of these is television, and here there is censorship – censorship which is against the law.

The authorities force journalists to follow their instructions. And that is who pickets, rallies and marches have become so important for the opposition. And in this realm the authorities have decided to fight against the opposition. Rallies and marches organized by the authorities are paltry things and the authorities have taken the path of creating all kinds of obstacles to the opposition. The authorities have decided that only they can approve the place where rallies can be held, although the law states the opposite. The opposition wants to hold a rally on one square, but the authorities insists on another. Our society, used to violations of the law, do not pay much attention to this. Then the authorities create obstacles, inconveniences, moral pressure on the event organizers and participants, seeking to make it ineffective, making the area smaller, as it was on 6 May 2012.

Sharply limiting the area for holding the rally, despite the fact that the space had already been agreed, the authorities considered their unlawful demands to be lawful. That is because the authorities believe that they themselves constitute the law. When several dozens of people who were caught in the crush broke through the cordon, the authorities decided that they had the right to break up a rally to which several tens of thousands of people had come to take part. The authorities by their tactics and politically-motivated actions, continuously irritated the people who sought to oppose these illegal actions. The tactics and politically motivated actions of the authorities continuously annoyed the participants, who tried to stop these illegal actions. The authorities violate the law, but then, when they meet resistance, pretend to be the ones who uphold the law, with their Article 318 (use of force against a representative of authority – Novaya gazeta.) The riot police viewed the demonstrators as their enemies, in other words the authorities had put them in this frame of mind beforehand, so that they would act brutally, and react brutally. The riot police on Bolotnaya Square were not clearly not representing the forces of law and order. The actions of the riot police on Bolotnaya Square were determined by the political motivations of their commanders. This was a political struggle. The demonstrators were protesting against unfair elections...The demands for fair elections is the most just of demands. The authorities were against fair elections, because then they would lose power. The authorities are made up to a large degree of incompetent people, of people who violate the law. We need a rotation of power in Russia, and not one regime being eternally in office. The current regime in Russia is not coping with the serious tasks which must be faced in the future.

The enormous efforts, which at time our authorities make, coupled with their low effectiveness, bring significantly less results than they should. In all the history of our country, the power has never been passed to the opposition in a lawful manner. The current authorities have set many anti-records: the highest use of heroin in the world, and the same for alcohol. And are these authorities competent? Should they remain in power for ever? Are not those people who protest against the authorities in the right?

Often the supporters of those in power say that there is no one else to govern the country. That is doubtful. In Russia there is an endless number of talented and capable people, but they can only go into government by means of free and fair elections. I want to thank all those who have supported me, my lawyers, my sister, everyone who has come to this trial. So far as whether I should be considered responsible for my actions, I ask the court to consider me responsible for my actions.

Text recorded by Yulia Polukhina