About the situation concerning the arrest of A. Nikitin, co-worker of the Norwegian environmental f

Publish date: February 20, 1996

About the situation concerning the arrest of A. Nikitin, co-worker of the Norwegian environmental foundation Bellona

Message from the briefing in the Russian Foreign Ministry’s press-centre.

In recent days, especially in the Norwegian press, there has been strong pressure in the campaign concerning the arrest of Aleksandr Nikitin. Particular activity has been shown by work of the well known Norwegian environmental organisation Bellona, where Nikitin is a co-worker. It is surprising how eagerly Nikitin’s "lawyer" tries to present the picture of "an innocent victim of the Russian security police". Such persistence makes one believe that the Bellona Foundation’s worries are of more importance than their will to defend the interests of their co-worker.

Nobody is trying to reduce press rights to freely express their opinion on this or the other incident. In this there is an important point in whether the information is true, objective and trustworthy. One has to see the border between freedom of speech and a deliberate campaign targeted to influence the proceedings of the investigation or a random attempt to influence the treatment of a Russian citizen in relation to the laws in his homeland. As is known in all democratic countries, this is under the legal systems competence.

"The Nikitin-case" has already been covered extensively enough in the Russian press, and in press releases from the press-centre in the Russian Foreign Ministry. The arrest of the former naval officer A. Nikitin was executed in complete accordance with existing Russian law. This particular case concerns a specific Russian citizen who is accused of committing a specific crime (64, Article 1) independently of the place of work or other conditions spread by the press in relation to the investigation of this case. The arrest and other investigative active have been approved by the state attorneys office. The Russian FSB has followed the common practise of law, which is also used in other European countries, including Norway, and they do not connect the accusations against Nikitin with the activities of Bellona.

And finally. The EU-parliament adopted on February 15 a resolution inspired by Bellona "in defence" of A. Nikitin. As in November, this forum actually tries to put doubt on the supreme right of any country to perform legal measures to prevent breaking of the law. In this connection we see us forced to declare again – Russian legal bodies do not have as their goal to prevent the activity of any ecological organisation, their purpose is to enforce the law and punish illegal activity. That is exactly what they are doing. The law has been broken. The investigation is pending. Therefore the EU-parliament resolution not only arouses confusion but also regret. The EU-parliament’s interference is out of order, at least until the investigation is closed.