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Grigory Pasko: Next Generation Chekists

yulia.jpgThe chekists’ latest act of valor Grigory Pasko, journalist Recently, the director of the FSB of Russia, General of the Army Alexander Bortnikov, congratulated young officers with the completion of studies at the FSB academy and called upon them to work effectively towards strengthening the security of the country. “The knowledge that they have given you – this is the foundation that will be instrumental in the resolution of tasks with respect to providing for the security of the country. One would want to be confident that you will be acquiring indispensable experience and working qualitatively and effectively”, said Bortnikov [in the traditional pompously vapid Russian bureaucratic style—Trans.] at the solemn graduation ceremony for the young officers of the Academy of the FSB RF. At about the same time in Moscow, events were unfolding around the arrest of Yulia Privedennaya, an activist with the youth organization PORTOS. They are charging her with – no more, no less – founding an unlawful armed formation. Formally, the procuracy is in charge of the case, but standing behind it, as experts assert, are comrades from the FSB. In addition to this, by Russian laws, it is precisely the FSB that is entrusted with the struggle against terrorists and informal associations.

yulia080208Yulia Privedennaya’s photos from her official case file, with the gruesome injuries plainly evident.The «Poeticized Association for the Elaboration of a Theory of All-People’s Happiness» (P.O.R.T.O.S.) was founded a long time back – more than 8 years ago. The young people united in the organization indulged in the study and transformation into life of the ideas of Pythagorianism, Soviet patriotism, Gorbachev’s perestroika, a healthy way of life, the Esperanto language… This whole compendium of interests in and of itself is not dangerous: the youth pro-Putin organization «Nashi» [which curiously has a Soviet, not Russian, internet address: http://www.nashi.su/—Ed.] propagandizes practically all of this too. But what makes PORTOS so horrible is that it arose on its own, and not according to the ideological prescriptions of the Kremlin’s gray cardinals.Not far from Moscow, member of PORTOS have founded something akin to a commune. In order to somehow exist, they engaged in small business. But at the end of the year 2000, a detachment of police for the struggle with organized crime showed up there and arrested four of the leaders of the organization, accusing them of founding an unlawful armed formation and a whole bunch of other crimes. In the end, two got 6 and 8 years of camp, another two were ruled mentally incompetent.By the way, now all of the convicts have already come out to liberty, and, it would seem, one could forget about PORTOS. But on 22 May of this year, yet another activist of the organization – Yulia Privedennaya – was detained and placed in an isolator.As Privedennaya’s lawyer – Mikhail Trepashkin, in the recent past a famous Russian political prisoner – says, the list of charges could frighten even Chechen terrorist Shamil Basayev: Article 208 («Organization of an unlawful armed formation»), Article 239 («Organization of an association, infringing on the person and rights of citizens»), Article 117 («Torture»), Article 127 («Unlawful deprivation of liberty»).However, in the opinion of a specialist – doctor of juridical sciences, professor, head scholarly fellow of the Institute of the State and Law of the Russian Academy of Sciences A. Naumov, the organization PORTOS according to Russian legislation is not unlawful, and in the actions of its members «is absent the element of a crime prescribed by part 1 of Art.208 and part 1 of Art.238 of the Criminal Code of the RF».The decree about the arrest, it should be noted, was dated 2001. However, all this time the girl was calmly travelling around the country, appearing at press conferences, participating in public events.Very recently, the Lubertsy Court of Moscow extended the term of detention for Yulia Privedennaya to 12 September.In the words of Mikhail Trepashkin, in reality nobody was looking for the accused, she was freely residing in Moscow, where she has permanent registration.Why have they suddenly remembered about Privedennaya? It is thought that the organs of the FSB and their companions from the procuracy have a deficit of criminal cases under the articles «terrorism» and «organization of armed formations». The war in Chechnya, as was announced at all official levels, has already ended. (About the never-ending murders and disorders, armed clashes in Ingushetia, the power prefers to keep silent). Consequently, there are no longer any terrorists there. But the article in the Criminal Code is still there. And the chekists are still here. And the procurators are still here. And they want to eat. And they want to get titles and awards, to justify their existence before the bosses.One of the «trump cards» of the investigation is the fact that at the PORTOS base outside Moscow at the end of the year 2000 they had seized more than a dozen units of weaponry (hunting rifles and gas pistols). As the portosites themselves assert, this arsenal had been purchased for protection from Muscovite street thugs. Nobody, including the procuracy, denies that all the barrels had been registered without violations.Lawyer Trepashkin, having familiarized himself with the materials of the criminal case, asserts: there was a need for the purchase of the weapons. Mikhail Ivanovich sent me several photographs from the case file, vividly demonstrating facts of beatings of PORTOS members, including Yulia Privedennaya herself, because they had not wanted to pay «tribute» to local criminal structures from their economic activity, but used the money for almsgiving (to pensioners, invalids). By what has already become a long-standing tradition, the case in relation to Privedennaya is being accompanied by multitudinous violations of legality. For example, from 22 May of the year 2008 through the present time, Privedennaya is being held in detention without a court decree. This is a flagrant violation of her rights, guaranteed by Art.5 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Art.22 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation and the Code of Criminal Procedure of the RF.And here is a link to a video clip of Trepashkin talking about the case in Russian:Lawyer Mikhail Trepashkin:«It is thought that the so-called «PORTOS case» – is the result of an anti-terrorist hysteria that is being fanned in the country after the apartment bombings in the capital in September of the year 1999. The powers have decided to show that they are struggling with terrorists. And they have shown it on various youth organizations, including poets from the PORTOS association».