18 February 2013
Ivan Moseev. Photo by Ivan Moseev
On 18 February both parties presented their arguments in the Oktyabr district court in Arkhangelsk, where a case on inciting hatred towards ethnic 'Russians' is being heard. Ramil Akhmetgaliev, a legal analyst for the Agora Human Rights Association, representing Ivan Moseev, together with the lawyer Veniamin Belov, reported from the court room.
During the pleadings on 18 February the State Prosecutor withdrew the part of the charge relating to the incitement of hatred towards ethnic 'Russians'. The Director of the Pomor Institute of Indigenous and Minority Peoples at the Northern (Arctic) Federal University, Ivan Moseev, is now being accused of denigrating the dignity of an ethnic group. The Public Prosecutor asked the court to sentence Moseev to a fine but did not specify the amount.
The defence urged that Ivan Moseev be fully acquitted on the basis of linguistic studies that have been conducted and numerous glaring errors in the investigation, reports an Openinform news correspondent.
“Throughout the trial, the prosecution in conjunction with the court, rather than seeking to establish the truth, sought to cover up shortfalls and gaps in the investigation by all means possible. Any guilty verdict, even with a minimum fine, would mean a life-long punitive sentence for Moseev", affirmed lawyer Ramil Ahmetgaliev. "A conviction for extremism, even when the sentence has been served, would prevent Moseev from carrying out any further academic, public, or research activities.
A verdict in this high-profile case will be announced on 1 March 2013.
In previous court sessions, the counsel for the defence presented extrajudicial linguistic research carried out by specialists at the Lobachevsky Nizhny Novgorod State University and, like the expert of the Northern (Arctic) Federal University before them, they did not find "calls for discrimination against citizens on the basis of their ethnicity" in the phrase ascribed to the defendant.
The research was conducted by Elisaveta Koltunova, a member of the Guild of Linguistic Experts for Documentation and Information Disputes, Doctor of Philological Sciences, Senior Lecturer of the Faculty of Philology at the N.I. Lobachevsky Nizhny Novgorod State University, Professor at the International Slavic Academy with 35 years' work experience and 15 years' expert work experience, and Timur Radbil, Doctor of Philological Sciences, Professor of the Modern Russian Department at Nizhny Novgorod State University, with over 20 years' experience.
The experts concluded that the comments, "What are you going to do with us? You number in millions, like cattle, and there are only two thousand of us," for which Moseev is being prosecuted, "lack the verbal means for substantiating or justifying the need to carry out genocide, mass repressions, deportations, or the perpetration of other illegal actions, including the use of unauthorised violence against an ethnic group."
The linguists stated that, "the comments contain no rationale or justification for violating the rights, freedoms and lawful interests of individuals and citizens based on their nationality or ethnicity."
Elizabeth Koltunova and Timur Radbil concluded that, "The comment 'What are you going to do with us? You number in the millions, like cattle, and there are only two thousand of us' does not contain calls to discriminate against citizens based on their ethnicity".
During questioning in court earlier, Tanya Sidorova, an expert in the Russian language, text linguistics, speech conflictology and legal linguistics, Doctor of Philological Sciences, Professor of the Department of Russian Language and Culture in the Institute of Philology and Intercultural Communication at the Lomonosov Northern (Arctic) Federal University, who has 40 years' experience, including 20 years as an expert, noted that the disputed phrase, "What are you going to do with us? You number in millions, like cattle, and there are only two thousand of us", for which Moseev is being prosecuted, "contains no references to any well-known nationalities or races" and "the millions could refer to any people".
The criminal proceedings against the 47-year-old director of the Pomor Institute of Indigenous and Minority Peoples in the Northern (Arctic) Federal University, Ivan Moseev, were instigated by the FSB.