Free Historical Society demands repeal of article of Criminal Code on ‘rehabilitation of Nazism’

posted 12 Sept 2016, 08:17 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 12 Sept 2016, 08:18 ]
6 September 2016


The Free Historical Society of the Russian Federation has issued an official statement regarding the guilty verdict passed in the case of the mechanic, Denis Luzgin, who reposted an article on a social network in which it was said that “communists and Germany jointly attacked Poland” in 1939. In their statement the historians have demanded the blogger’s acquittal and the repeal of the article of the Russian Criminal Code on “the rehabilitation of Nazism”.

The text of the statement has been published found on the society’s website.

“The Free Historical Society considers that Denis Luzgin should be acquitted by the highest legal authority because his actions do not constitute a crime under the article with which he has been charged. The Free Historical Society also calls upon the legislators to repeal the article itself on the grounds that it contradicts a constitutional right to freedom of speech and the principles of historical research” (this part of the text is quoted in Novaya gazeta).

In July 2016 a Perm court found the blogger Luzgin guilty of publicly denying facts established by the Nuremburg tribunal, and spreading blatantly false information regarding the activities of the USSR during the Second World War, and fined him 200,000 roubles. In September the RF Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s decision.

“The verdict is inappropriate, even in terms of the letter of the law, because the text, which serves as the grounds for the charge, does not contradict ‘facts established by the verdict of the Nuremburg tribunal’”.

The Society’s statement continues: “The Nuremburg tribunal addressed only the actions of the German leadership and took no decisions whatever evaluating the actions of the Soviet leadership in 1939. The phrase used in the post, albeit worded somewhat bluntly, fully accords with the facts, well established by historical research. It is depressing and surprising that members of the highest court in the RF were unaware of them.”

The text also refers to the fact that the expertise, which the court relied upon, “was provided by someone who is not a specialist in this field”.

The Free Historical Society intends to support Denis Luzgin’s appeal to the RF Constitutional Court on the grounds of the infringement of his constitutional rights, and to support his appeal by providing qualified historical expertise.

The verdict, in the case of the blogger Denis Luzgin, is the first to be passed in a Russian court under the new article, introduced as part of the “Yarova amendments” – Article 254.1, Section 1 of the RF Criminal Code (“the rehabilitation of Nazism”). The maximum sentence under this article is 3 years’ imprisonment.

Translated by Mary McAuley