– Are you a Japanese spy?

Throughout the cross-examination of Pasko, prosecutor Aleksandr Kondakov asked thirty-three questions. His questions did, however, not reveal anything else than the well-known fact that the prosecutor is a pawn in someone else’s game.

– Are you a Japanese spy?
Kondakov was going through the motions and asked questions like – Did you hand over the sketch of the technical naval base to Japanese authorities? – Did you plan to hand over your article "Measures are stipulated. The debts are not paid"? – Did you inform the Japanese Government about the decommissioning of submarines?

The prosecutor could just as well have summed his question into one, and asked: – Are you a Japanese spy?

As Kondakov’s examination led nowhere, he started to blame Pasko for not having obeyed orders. Pasko is, however, not accused with disobedience, but with treason through espionage. Besides, he received his distinctions, not for having neglected orders, but for having written acclaimed articles in the Pacific Fleet’s newspaper "Boyevaya Vakhta".

A pawn in the game
– But Pasko is employed by the armed forces, the prosecutor broke out, and referred to the secret legislation from the Ministry of Defence, which the charges are based on, and to the recent evaluation of the ‘state secret experts’.

In a conversation with Pasko’s ‘public defender’ Aleksandr Tkatchenko, Kondakov has actually admitted that he considers the experts’ evaluation to be useless. However, he is not in a position where he can withdraw the accusations against Pasko and thus, has to use the evaluation for what it is worth (no matter how little that is). Kondakov is a part of the same system as the experts.

And they all act as pawns in a senseless and absurd game, which has gone on for almost four years, and where the end might still be far away.

Grigory Pasko was arrested in November 1997 on charges of espionage on behalf of the Japanese TV-station ‘NHK’. He was acquitted of espionage in July 1999, but convicted of abuse of his official authority and freed under a general amnesty. Seeking a full acquittal, Pasko appealed, but so did the prosecution, insisting he was a spy. The Military Collegium of the Russian Supreme Court cancelled the verdict in November 2000, and sent the case back to Vladivostok for a re-trial. The re-trial started on July 11, 2001. If convicted as charged, Pasko may face up to 20 years of forced hard labour.