Nikitin Case 1996 news archive

Publish date: December 31, 1996

December 20 1996:
Amnesty International continues their campaign for Alexandr Nikitin with a new Urgent Action, where they demand that the charge must be dropped.

December 18 1996:

Commissioner Hans van den Broek, responsible for the relations with the Russian Federation, welcomes the decision of the Russian authorities to release from custody Mr. Alexandr NIKITIN, a Russian environmental activist. At several high level occasions during recent months, Mr. van den Broek had requested the immediate release of Mr. Nikitin, also taking into account his deteriorating health situation. Similar requests were made by the European Parliament, several national governments and human rights organisations. Mr. Nikitin is co-author of a report published on 19 April 1996 by the BELLONA FOUNDATION. That report provides an analysis of the alleged relationship of the radioactive contamination registered on the Kola peninsula and around the town of Severodvinsk, and the presence of the Northern fleet of the Russian navy in those areas. Mr. Nikitin`s contribution to this report initiated his arrest by the Russian authorities on 6 February 1996. The Commissioner expressed confidence that the further judical proceedings regarding the contribution given by Mr. Nikitin to this Bellona-report, will be in full conformity with the internationally agreed principles and standards of justice and human rights.

December 14 1996: Alexandr Nikitin is free!
Alexandr Nikitin was released from KGB-isolation in St. Petersburg today, December 14, 17:35 local time. The release was ordered by the State Attorney in Moscow. —I am proud to have been working together with Alexandr, and I am happy that he wants to continue the fight, says Bellona leader Frederic Hauge.
Alexandr Nikitin was released from KGB-isolation in St. Petersburg

December 9 1996:
Boris Utkin, the FSB investigator in charge of assembling the case against Nikitin, says he has never seen the secret decrees issued by the Defence Ministry which Nikitin is charged for violating. In a interview with St Petersburg Times says Utkin "I myself haven`t even seen the decrees." He added that Nikitin had nevertheless certainly violated those decrees, and that the decrees would "play a role" in the case Utkin is building against Nikitin. Yury Schmidt, Nikitin`s attorney says that neither he nor Nikitin – nor, for that matter, any other average Russian citizen have been allowed to see them. The secret decrees were issued in 1993, after Nikitin retired from the navy. The decrees list the criteria under which a document can be considered classified. At the same time, Ernest Ametistov, one of the 16 judges on Russia`s Constitutional Court, said that the FSB investigators have violated the Constitution by not letting Schmidt and Nikitin see the text of the Defence Ministry decrees. Article 15 of the Constitution says that defendants cannot be charged under unpublished laws. Ametistov also said that the FSB was ignoring a ruling in March by his court that guaranteed lawyers defending treason suspects the right to see classified material relevant to the case. "The FSB in this instance is behaving unconstitutionally," said Ametistov to The St Petersburg Times.

December 8 1996:
Environmental groups from Kola Peninsula and the Norwegian organization Nature and Youth made a demonstration in Murmansk today, demanding freedom for Alexandr Nikitin. Around 30 people carried a big banner and t-skirts with support for Niktin, and openess about environmental problems in the region. Some of the demonstrans was from Severomorsk, the Russian Northern fleets main base and administration center north of Murmansk.

December 6 1996:
December 4 there was a press-conference in St. Petersburg organised by the lawyers of Alexander Nikitin and Human rights organisation Citizen Watch. Recently the Defence Council filed appeals to the investigation body demanding new expertise of the Bellona report and realise of Alexander Nikitin from custody. According to Nikitin’s lawyer Uriy Schmidt, the next appeal will demand closing the criminal case. Schmidt expects that the first trial will take into consideration all the violations made in the course of the case and might send it back for additional investigation. Schmidt has stressed again that the expert groups findings concluding that the report contains state secrets are groundless. All the information in the report was collected from the public sources.

December 4 1996:
The Nikitin-case was given many statements during the OSCE Review meeting in Vienna 4-22 November 1996. Statements was given by USA, European Union and Norway. In addition, the norwegian Helsinki Committee made a statement to the OSCE meeting on Human Rights.

November 28 1996:
In Russia, Whistle-Blowing Can Still Be Treason – stands on the front page of The New York Times today. The article follows that Russian human rights advocates worry that the case has sent a disquieting signal that Russian citizens who work closely with Western human rights or environmental groups may be at risk. "If this is the lesson that is learned that may not be all bad", said Colonel Sergey F.Vasilyev, a spokesmen for the Federal Security Service (former KGB). Colonel Vasilyev also added that the nuclear pollution near Russia’s shores may have been caused by American submarines.

November 23 1996:
Today there was a demonstration held in the centre of St. Petersburg in support to Alexander Nikitin. The event assembled some 350 people and was organised by St. Petersburg human- rights organisation Citizen Watch and Democratic Party of Russia. Among the banners at the demonstration there were "Set Nikitin Free" and "I am the same spy as Nikitin". The acting captain of the 1-st rank of the Russian Navy Fursov claimed in his speech that Nikitin said the truth and is suffering for that.

November 20 1996:
Vladimir Bukovsky, a former Soviet dissident now living in London, was denied a visa to Russia last week when he tried to use his British passport instead of the Russian passport he has refused to accept. St. Petersburg human rights activists claim that Bukovsky’s recent visa problems are connected with his interest in the case of Alexander Nikitin. Bukovsky has followed the Nikitin case closely and been provided with documents by Nikitin’s defence lawyer Yury Schmidt. Bukovsky was coming to St. Petersburg in order to meet with Nikitin supporters and also with prosecutors on the case. Yury Vdovin, vice president of the human rights group Citizens’ Watch, said he believes the Federal Security Service, or FSB, learned of Bukovsky’s intentions through illegal phone taps. The FSB then pressured the embassy in London to deny Bukovsky a visa. "The FSB is conducting illegal activities against our organisation," Vdovin said. "It listens to our telephone conversations, keeps us under surveillance and knows our every move. This is illegal, because there is no court-issued permission for this." Yevgeny Lukin, a spokesman for the St Petersburg office of the FSB, said it had nothing to do with any of the visa denials.

November 14 1996:
On 15 November 1996, International PEN members world-wide will remember their colleagues who are suffering persecution for the practice of their profession. This year PEN will focus on six cases, among them Bellona co-author Alexandr Nikitin. The International PEN congress has adopted a resolution in support of Alexandr Niktin. The national PEN Centers in Russia, Sweden and Norway have also made a special statement for Nikitin.

November 13 1996:
A court in St. Petersburg yesterday rejected prosecution against Nikitin supporters Igor Sotsnikov and Jury Vdovin. The two were apprehended during a demonstration outside the KGB prison in St. Petersburg on October 30, demanding the release of Alexandr Nikitin. The cases were rejected due to the inability of the FSB to produce witnesses to any illegal actions. The demonstrators had applied for and received permission to demonstrate from the town authorities of St. Petersburg.

November 12 1996:
The issues of the Nikitin case and the Russian Northern Fleet will be discussed in the German Parliament. "Die Grünen" has raised the question of what measures are going to be taken against the enormous waste problems on the Kola peninsula, as described in the Bellona report on the Northern Fleet. At the same time, they ask what measures German authorities will take towards the release of Alexandr Nikitin.

November 11 1996:
German social democrats, the SPD, demand an immediate release of Nikitin. Michael Möller, spokesperson on environmental issues, states that Russian authorities act "by the old pattern of suppression".

November 08 1996:
Tatyana Chernova, wife of Alexandr Nikitin, brings her sincere thanks for all the letters of support she has received from all over the world during the campaign to set Nikitin free (keep it up, friends!). Several hundred letters have been received. Tatyana reads all of them, but couldn’t possibly answer them all. Thus, this message through the Web. Alexandr Nikitin still needs your support!

November 06 1996:
The European Parliaments extraordinary meeting was held in Brussels today. Present at the meeting was also Frederic Hauge from the Bellona Foundation.

November 05 1996:
"Human Rights and State Secrecy", an article by Boris Altshuler, Chairman in "Movement Without Frontier" is available on the Web. Among the questions Altshuler addresses is: "Who Rules the Country?" and "Is it Worthwhile to Struggle?".

October 31 1996:
The European Parliament Delegation to Russia has invited Bellona Foundation to its extraordinary meeting in Brussels on 6 November. This is the first time the Bellona Fundation has been given a possibility to express publicly its own views in the European Parliament concerning the environmental situation on the Kola Peninsula and the arrest of Alexandr Nikitin.

October 30 1996:
Two of the leading figures in the support committee for Aleksandr Nikitin were arrested this afternoon during a demonstartionoutside the KGB isolation cells in St. Petersburg. More than fifty people demonstrated their support of Nikitin by appearing in public wearing T shirts with the text "Free Aleksandr Nikitin". The demonstration had been given prior permission by St. Petersburg civil authorities.

October 25 1996:
Thursday, October 24, custom officials said they had turned the confiscated reports over to the FSB. According to Yury Vdovin, vice president of the human rights group Citizen’s Watch, the transfer is totally illegal – the FSB and customs are two entirely different organizations. A spokesman for the Kurchatov Institute of Nuclear Studies in Moscow said the Institute had ordered several copies of the report for its library, and had made photocopies of the report to prepare for future FSB searches and seizures. "This report is an important step forward and any attempt to block it is an attempt by the government to avoid responsibility and to save face," said the spokesman, who requested anonymity (with reference to the St. Petersburg Times, October 25, 1996).

October 24 1996 – 2:
BUND, the German Chapter of Friends Of the Earth, will make an action at the Russian Embassy in Bonn. November 10th is the first anniversary of the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa in Nigeria. The slogan for the action will be: "In rememberance with Ken Saro-Wiwa – Solidarity with Alexandr Nikitin!".

October 24 1996 – 1:
The Russian version of Bellonas banned report about the Northern fleet is available on the Web

October 22 1996:
The 1505 copies of the Bellona report which were confiscated in St. Peterburg last Friday will be destroyed immediately. According to the statement made by an FSB official today, any further attempts to bring reports across the boarder will be stopped, the reports being confiscated and finally destroyed. Head of the investigation group at St. Petersburg customs office, Vladimir Kostin, has stated that customs will not wait for the result of the legal proceedings concerning the contents of the report. Apparently, FSB has instructed custom officials to confiscate and destroy all the Bellona reports they find.

October 21 1996:
Elisabeth Schroedter, member of the European Parliament, visited St. Petersburg today to meet with the prosecution Boris Utkin in FSB and the defence in the Nikitin case. She called the Nikitin case "politically motivated" rather than a criminal case. She also said the European Parliament would discuss punishing Russia with economic sanctions on Nikitin`s behalf when it next convenes in November.

October 18 1996:
Bellona report prohibited in St. Petersburg: Thursday evening 1,505 copies of the Bellona report on the Russian Northern Fleet were confiscated in St. Petersburg. The reports had been sent from Norway, destined for the human rights organisation Citizens Watch in St. Petersburg. Upon attempting to claim the shipment, a representative of Citizens Watch were met by customs officers referring to the Ministry of Defence, which has stated that the report can not be distributed in St. Petersburg.

October 11 1996 – 2:
The Nikitin case receives lots of attention in newspapers world-wide. Both the Washington Post and Daily Telegraph has printed large articles about the case.

October 11 1996 – 1:
Press-spokeman for the FSB in Moscow, Sergey Gavyenko, said in an interview today that Nikitin can not get death-penalty for his claimed treason. Gavyenko says that Nikitins claimed misuse of his ID-card from the time he served as a submarine-captain is the most serious crime in the charges.

October 10 1996:
FSB has instructed the Russian Consulate in Norway to deny visas to St. Petersburg for representatives from the Bellona Foundation. This is done to prevent Bellona’s representatives from active participation in the defence of Bellona employee Alexandr Nikitin. Representatives from Bellona intented to go to St. Petersburg today with source material from the Russian Northern Fleet report, information which FSB claims is secret. Bellona is granted visas to Murmansk and Moscow.
Pressrelease from Bellona, 1996-10-10 :

October 8 1996:
Ansver from Acting General Attorney of the Russian Federation, Yu. Ya. Chaika, to the letter from Lebed.
Ansver from Acting General Attorney :

October 5 1996:
The Participants on the Barents Youth Conference 1996, gathered in Kirkenes (Norway), has adopted a resolution were they demand Nikitin released from custody immediately. The resolution was suported by all 60 participants from Russia, Norway, Finland and Sweden.
The resolution :

October 2 1996:
The Russian security police FSB has now formally ended their investigation of the case against Bellona employee Alexandr Nikitin. Nikitin is charged with espionage and release of state secrets. The charges are solely based on Nikitins work on the Bellona report covering nuclear safety in the Russian North Fleet. The charges are based on a Ministry of Defence secret decree (no. 71:93), which is unavailable to Nikitin

October 1 1996:
Remarks to the latest developments in the Nikitin case, from Nikitins lawyer.
Remarks from Yu. M. Shmidt :

September 24 1996:
" FSB vs. Prisoner of Consience Aleksandr Nikitin: Return to Soviet Practices", report from Amnesty International is now available on WWW.

September 20 1996:
In a resolution yesterday The European Parliament demands the immediate release of Alexander Nikitin.
European Parliament resolution :

September 20 1996:
The FSB bases its charges against Nikitin on secret Defense Ministry decrees. The Russian Constitution holds that no citizen may be charged with laws that have not been duly published.

September 6 1996 – 2:
The Danish Social democratic party requests Russian authorities to release Nikitin.

September 6 1996 – 1:
International Pen – "writers in prison committee", now will engage their members through the whole world in the Nikitin-case. International Pen has their headquarter in London. Among the vice-presidents in International Pen is writers like Nadina Gordimer and Mario Vargas Llosa.

September 5 1996:
According to the FSB the case against Nikitin will come to court, probably a military court, in October or November. FSB now asserts Niktin kept and misused his ID card to obtain access to classified information after he quit his job in the navy. FSB also asserts that Nikitin was fired from his job. In reality Nikitin was offered promotion shortly before he quit his job at the Ministry of Defence. One of the reasons was the problems of obtaining a flat in Moscow

August 30 1996:
Alexandr Nikitin has been declared a "Prisoner of conscience" by Amnesty International. Nikitin is the second person in Russia to be afforded that status by the Human rights organisation since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. "There are lots of reasons to say that there is something wrong with the motivations behind this case", says AI representative Diedrik Lohman, "This will be a serious test for the independence of the judiciary of this country". The report was presented today for media and other interested parties at a press conference in St. Petersburg. The report has raised great interest both in Murmansk and St. Petersburg. The FSB did nothing to stop todays press conference in St. Petersburg.

August 29 1996:
A representative for the Murmansk branch of the FSB paid a visit to the Bellona office in Murmansk today asking for 5 copies of the report on the Nortern Fleet. They gave no indications that the report is/will be prohibited. FSB in St. Petersburg, on the other hand, states that the legality of the report in Russia is still to be assessed

August 28 1996 – 2:
Bellona have in the last days imported several hundred Northern-Fleet reports into Russia after paying customs duty. There have been som uncertainty about permission to distribute the report in Russia after the FSB earlier this year confiscated examples of the text version of the report. Representatives for Bellona has legally imported the report to Murmansk, St. Petersburg and Moscow. The report was presented for Russian media today in a well attended press conference in Murmansk
The Russian Northern Fleet :

August 28 1996 – 1:
At the same time as Bellona freely presented the final version of the Northern Fleet report on a press conference in Murmansk, Alexandr Nikitin was again refused to recieve a copy of the report. It was this morning that Nikitins wife, Tatjana, was given the refusal by the FSB chief investigator Utkin. Utkin stated as reason that the report contains state secrets, and therefore cannot be distributed. The charges against Alexandr Nikitin are based on the content of this report.
The Russian Northern Fleet :

August 23 1996:
Alexander Nikitin will be kept in FSB’s custody in St.-Petersburg. The complain filed by Nikitin’s lawyer Jurij Schmidt on the prolongation of custody was declined today by District Court in S.-Petersburg. The decision of the judge was based on the statement that the charges were to serious for changing custody. The sub legal acts of Ministry of Defense used for concluding that Nikitin had divulged information pertaining to the State Secrets were still not submitted to the lawyer.
Pressrelease from Bellona, 1996-08-23 :

22. August 1996:
Amnesty International updates their Urgent Action on the Nikitin case. Amnesty is concerned about Nikitins health: "Amnesty International is concerned at reports that Alexander Nikitin’s health is deteriorating in detention. According to Nikitin, his sight has seriously worsened and he is suffering from frequent and painful headaches. Nikitin’s wife, Tatyana Chernova, contacted Amnesty International on 21 August 1996 after she saw her husband during a court hearing. She said that she was shocked to see how he had changed since their last meeting on 1 August 1996. Nikitin has apparently lost weight, and looked exhausted and drawn." Amnesty asks for appeals to be sent immediately to ensure that he receives appropriate medical attention, and to ask for his release if he has been detained solely on account of his legitimate activities for the Bellona Foundation.

August 21, 1996:
Nikitins lawyer, Jurij Schmidt are still not granted access to the military decrees that forms the basis of Nikitins inprisonment. The decision came in the civil court of St. Petersburg today. These documents are crucial for the defence of Alexandr Nikitin. Schmidt got access to other, less important, documents in the case, and the court accepted to postpone the demands from the FSB regarding prolonged imprisonment. This will be adressed at a new hearing on Friday .

August 19, 1996:
The report The Russian Nortern Fleet (Norwegian version) released at a press conference in Oslo 11:00. Attending the press conference was the authors Thomas Nilsen and Igor Kudrik and retired rear admiral Nikolai Mormul who participated in the advisory panel for the report. The English and Russian paper and web versions will be available next week.

August 9, 1996:
Dr. Helmut Lippelt, Member of Foreign relations Commitee in the German Bundestag sends protest against the imprisonment of Nikitin.
Letter from Dr. Helmut Lippelt :

August 6, 1996 – 2:
Alexander Lebed asks Prosecutor General of Russia to look into Nikitin case
Pressrelease from Bellona, 1996-08-06 :

August 6, 1996 – 1:
Yesterday, the FSB prolonged Alexandr Nikitin’s inprisonment with two additional months, now lasting until october 6. Today, Nikitin has spent half a year in the KGB isolate in St. Petersburg. Lawyer Jury Schmidt delivered a complaint on the prolongement today. The complaint is expected to be assessed by a court within 14 days. Schmidt has so far not been allowed to see the decision made by the FSB in writing, as the law entitles him.

July 31 1996 – 2:
Chief assistant of the Persecutor General of Russian Federation answered in a letter to the Chairman of State Duma to the request sent by deputes of State Duma regarding Nikitin case.
The letter to the Chairman of State Duma :

July 31 1996 – 1:
The committee in defense of Alexandr Nikitin. A comprehensive overview of the legal and juridical proceedings in the case written by Boris Pustintsev, Chairman of the Committee in Defense of A. Nikitin and Chairman of human rights NGO Citizens’ Watch, and Yuri Schmidt, defense lawyer of A. Nikitin and President of Russian Lawyers Committee for Human Rights.

July 26 1996:
Secretary of Russian Federation Security Council Alexandr Lebed sent a letter to the Persecutor General of Russian Federation asking him to consider the request delivered by the deputies of State Duma concerning Nikitin case.
The letter from Alexandr Lebed :

July 24 1996:
The committee in defense of Alexandr Nikitin put out a statement in answer to the allegations put forward by the FSB representative in the programme "Inform-TV".

July 23 1996:
In the programme "Inform-TV", a represantative for the investigators in the Nikitin case asserted that "the defendant have refused to answer certain kinds of questions"

July 22 1996:
On the 19th of July, the deputies of the Duma, Viktor Pochmelkin, Jurij Rybakov and Viktor Tetelmin worked out an appeal, adressed to the General State Prosecutor Jurij Skuratov and the secretary of the Security Council Aleksandr Lebed. In the appeal an explanation is demanded for the reasons of the violations of the rights of the citizen Alexandr Nikitin. It is also demanded that an end is put to the illegal actions against Nikitin by the St. Petersburg branch of the FSB and the state prosecutors office in St. Petersburg. The Duma accepted the appeal through a vote. The 22nd of July the letter was handed to the adressees.
An answer is forthcoming in a ten days period.

July 12 1996:
A city court in St. Petersburg today refused a complaint by Alexandr Nikitin’s lawyer, on Nikitin’s continued custodial imprisonment. Nikitin was this time allowed to be present at the court dealings, which lasted for six hours. The rationale for the refusal was that the FSB considered the charge of espionage to be too grave to consider release of the charged until the court trial. The latest prolongement of the custody period lasts until August 6.

July 11 1996:
Nikitin’s lawyers held a press conference in St. Petersburg today. According to lawyer Jury Schmidt, the Northern Fleet report will be evaluated again, by a new expert committee. Representatives of the committee have already declared the conclusions of the former group to be "not thorough enough". Schmidt concluded that the FSB has been holding Alexandr Nikitin in custody for six months, based on the preliminary and ill-founded assertions of the former expert committee.

July 9 1996:
On June 27, the St. Petersburg branch of the Green party recieved a message prohibiting further activities. The message, signed Leningrad County Governour Alexandr Belyakov, stated that effective from August 1st, all activities of the political party are prohibited within the borders of Leningrad County. Lately, the Green party has won several court trials against Leningrad County authorities, concerning breaches of environmental legislation.

July 4 1996:
Former French Minister of Environment and current leader of Generation Ecologia, Mr. Brice Lalonde, requests the release of Alexandr Nikitin in a letter to General Alexandr Lebed.
The letter to General Alexandr Lebed. :

June 29 1996:
A small aeroplane towing a banner with the text "Free Nikitin" flew over Lyon several times today, during the G7 meeting. French security police threatened to shoot down the plane, which was hired by the French support committee for Alexandr Nikitin.

June 29 1996:
A small aeroplane towing a banner with the text "Free Nikitin" flew over Lyon several times today, during the G7 meeting. French security police threatened to shoot down the plane, which was hired by the French support committee for Alexandr Nikitin.

June 28 1996 – 2:
Also today, the FSB issued a request for prolongment of Nikitin’s custody, this time until August 6. Nikitin’s lawyer will not accept this. It is not known when the request will be handled by the court.

June 28 1996 – 1:
The delegates to the G7 meeting in Lyon was handed updated information on the last developments in the Nikitin process. Among the information was the fact that Nikitin was denied appearance by the FSB, when a city court in St. Petersburg dealt with the question of Nikitin’s continued custody on June 10. Russian Prime Minister Victor Chernomyrdin was present at the meeting.

June 28 1996 – 1:
The delegates to the G7 meeting in Lyon was handed updated information on the last developments in the Nikitin process. Among the information was the fact that Nikitin was denied appearance by the FSB, when a city court in St. Petersburg dealt with the question of Nikitin’s continued custody on June 10. Russian Prime Minister Victor Chernomyrdin was present at the meeting.

June 18 1996:
The Council of Europe begins to investigate the human rights violations in the Nikitin case Today there was a meeting between the investigators in the Nikitin-case and the press. Due to "evident reasons", the investigators were anonymous (Igor Mikhaylovich Maksimenkov and Yuri Mikhaylovich Milushkin), when they gave their opinions on the case. Concerning the question of Nikitin’s custody, Maksimenkov declared: "I am not sure that if Aleksandr Nikitin were to be free on bail or on the conditions not to leave the country, he wouldn’t flee the country already tomorrow. By the way, one of the witnesses in this case has already gone to Norway…" According to the declaration made by the representatives of FSB, Nikitin actively "used his former contacts among the officers of the Fleet in order to get information of confidential character". The FSB-agents claim that "the identity of the person who worked directly with Nikitin and gave him secret information, is known to the investigators. For the time being we don’t want to mention his name. We can only say that he was an officer in the Fleet and that he is already accused of disclosing state secrets. Our informant is at liberty, but he has signed at document which forces him not to leave the country.

June 12 1996:
Nikitins attorney, Jury Schmidt, sums up the case in a memorandum
The case as the lawyer sees it :

June 11 1996:
A support committee for Alexandr Nikitin was formed today, with basis in Citizen’s Watch in St. Petersburg. Among the committee members are several of Nikitin’s former collegues from his time in the Russian navy.

June 10 1996:
A civilian court in St. Petersburg transferred a complaint from Nikitin’s lawyer, J. Schmidt, on the pre-trial detention of Nikitin, to the military court today. FSB refused to present Nikitin to the court, which used the absence of Nikitin as reason for its decision. After the half hour long meeting, Nikitin’s lawyer, Jury Schmidt, had to wait in the corridor, while the judge, G. Stulikov, contemplated the matter. Meanwhile, FSB prosecutor A. Gutsan spent the time at the judge’s front room. The court decision can not be appealed. The Russian Constitutional Court earlier ruled that Nikitin’s case may be handled by a civilian court. —This court decision is in violation of the Russian Constitution, and a severe breach with the human rights, said Schmidt, who added that the court meeting had been a farce, leaving the defendant totally defenceless. Schmidt will rise the matter with the City Court in St. Petersburg.
Pressrelease from Bellona, 1996-06-10 :

June 8 1996:
Russian security police announces new arrests in the espionage case against Bellona. Several persons connected to the Bellona Foundation are under investigation by the FSB on suspicion of espionage, according to today’s Izvestia. One investigations leader of the FSB, said that new information had been revealed during the Nikitin investigations, leading the FSB to consider the arrest of another person, and possibly more than one. Also, the charges against Nikitin will be widened.
Pressrelease from Bellona, 1996-06-08 :

June 5 1996:
In a letter to the Russian Prosecutor General, Finnish "Human Rights Watch/Helsinki" requests the imediate release of Nikitin from pre-trial detention. Continued imprisonment must be considered arbitrary and in violation of Russian Law, the human rights organisation wrights.
A letter to Yuri Skuratov from Human Rights Watch / Helsinki :

June 4 1996:
Thomas Nilsen from the Bellona office in Oslo, arrived in St. Petersburg today, openly carrying approx. thirty copies of "The Russian North Fleet – Sources of Radioactive Contamination", the report which is the direct cause of Nikitin’s imprisonment. The report was earlier confiscated by FSB in Severodvinsk. Nilsen listed the allegedly forbidden reports in his customs declaration.

June 28 1996 – 2:
Also today, the FSB issued a request for prolongment of Nikitin’s custody, this time until August 6. Nikitin’s lawyer will not accept this. It is not known when the request will be handled by the court.

May 27 1996:
Appeal of the Participants of the Second International Sakharov Conference on Physics To Boris Yeltsin, President of the Russian Federation
Appeal of the Participants of the Second International Sakharov Conference :

May 26 1996:
In a letter to President Boris Jeltsyn, Doctor in Chemistry Vil Mirzajanov requests the imediate release of Alexandr Nikitin. Mirzajanov was, together with Alexey Jablokov, one of the instigators and authors of Jeltsyns declaration on obliteration and safekeeping of the Russian stores of chemical weapons. The declaration was made before the polls in april 1993. In 1992, KGB accused Mirzajanov of having publicised "state secrets".

June 24 1996:
A declaration was published by Nikitin’s lawyers, Y. Shmidt and Victor Drozdov, in which they declare that "FSB has never accepted our invitations to participate in our press-conferences, and they did not even care to invite us when they organised their press-conference. In our opinion this shows their fear of an open discussion of the case, a discussion which would have demonstrated the groundlessness of the accusations against Nikitin… It’s time to stop fooling the public with information based on anything but the truth."

May 24 1996 – 2:
French NGO Generation Ecologia will try to make the Nikitin case a matter of discussion at the upcoming G7 meeting, to be held in Lyon on June 26 through 28. Russian President Boris Jeltsyn will guest at the meeting. There have also been signals to the effect that the French Government will raise the issue with Jeltsyn again at the Lyon meeting. The Nikitin case was discussed during the G7+1 meeting in Moscow in april.

May 24 1996 – 1:
On behalf of the French Government, the French Foreign Minister made an inquery to the Russian Government, expressing conserns about the arrest of Alexandr Nikitin. In the message it was stressed that the Bellona report does not contain information not already accessible in Russia, and that the legal protection of Nikitin must be sustained.

May 23 1996 – 2:
President of the French-Russian committee within the French Parliament, Mr. Henri, will send a letter on behalf of the Parliament to Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Russian communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, asking that Alexandr Nikitin is set free.

May 23 1996 – 1:
Intellectuals and politicians demand the release of captain Nikitin, who is kept in prison in St. Petersburg. Le Monde, May 23 1996
Le Monde, May 23 1996 :

May 22 1996:
Jacques Costeau and Jacques Delors are fronting several French media stars organised in a support committee for Nikitin. During a meeting with Bellona in Paris today, Delors expressed strong support for Nikitin.
French support for Nikitin :

May 21 1996:
The Democrat Youth Community of Europe (DEMYC), convened for an executive meeting in Oslo May 18th 1996, urges in a resolution the Russian authorities to ensure justice for Alexandr Nikitin.
Justice for imprisoned Russian environmentalist :

May 17 1996:
Alexandrs wife, Tatjana, was allowed to meet her husband today. This was her third meeting with her husband since his imprisonment on February 6. After the meeting she said Alexandr looks tired and worn, and that he is being given a hard time by the FSB these days.

May 14 1996 – 2:
Shmidt will then request the release of Nikitin, on bail or by guarantee. If the request is declined, Shmidt will file a complaint with the court. According to a paragraph in the Russian Criminal Code, a detainee may be released when a number of organisations put their name on a guarantee that the person in question will behave properly and present himself when called upon by the investigators or the court.

May 14 1996 – 1:
Nikitin’s lawyer, Yuriy Shmidt, has now recieved 14 letters of guarantee for Alexandr from deputies of the Russian Parliament. Among the guarantors is Gennady Lukin, head of the International Relations Committee of the Russian Parliament. These letters, together with letters of guarantee from approx. 20 organisations and five members of the St. Petersburg City Council, will be delivered to the head of the FSB investigation group, Maksimenkov, tomorrow.

May 12 1996:
A conference in Moscow, assembling representatives of major Russian and international human rights organisations, adopted a resolution demanding the imidiate release of Alexandr Nikitin.

May 7 1996:
Voiced by Ronald Rindestu, Norwegian County Administrators raised the Nikitin- case with their collegues from Murmansk and Arkhangelsk counties, during a meeting May 6 and 7 in the Barents Council. Rindestu asked what will happen to the Lepse project, which was granted funds from the Barents Council in 1994, and whether the council legally could continue to use the Bellona report "The Russian North Fleet, Sources to Radioactive Contamination" as background material, now that it has been classified by the FSB.

May 6 1996:
Members of the EU Parliament, Doeke Eisma, Carlos Pimenta and Martine Gredler asked Parliamentary questions to the European Commission on the Nikitin case today. Commission spokesperson Mr. Sabba answered that the Commission is very concerned with the treatment of NGOs in North West Russia. Nikitin, said Sabba, as a Russian national, must be treated in accordance with Russian law, but the Commision is following the case. The Commission has been active in Murmansk in that it has instituted the Lepse project, and the TACIS programme supports many activities in the region. Delivering his speech in flowing terms, Sabba seemed determined to show that the Commission had taken all necessary action at the appropriate time. In the following approx. one hour long debate, MEP Ken Collins emphasised the human rights angle of the matter, and asked the Commission whether they would bring up the case with the Council of Europe.

May 2 1996:
Letter from United States Department of State, John E. Herbst Principal Deputy Coordinator, Russia and the Caucusus
Letter from United States Department of State :

April 30 1996 – 2:
Bellona contact Alexey Klimov was visited by local FSB agents in Severodvinsk today. Three copies of the Bellona report "The Russian North Fleet – Sources of Radioactive Contamination" were confiscated. The agents presented an official FSB order, stating that distribution of the report within Russia is illegal, because it contains state secrets. It is unlikely that the FSB has authority to make such a decision.
Bellona report: The Russian Northern Fleet :

April 30 1996 – 1:
Ukraine: 19 environmental activists were arrested after participating in an anti nuclear demonstration outside the Ministerial Council in Kiev on April 23. Five of the activists were taken directly to a court meeting, and were sentenced to three to five days imprisonment. The five were Ira Korol, Nadia Sherchenko, Vladimir Siviak, Dima Tolomatsky and Sergey Fomichev. They were not allowed to defend themselves in court, nor to meet with a lawyer. The activists, gathered in Kiev for a 10 year memorial for the Tchernobyl accident, were released after having started a hunger strike in the prison.

April 26 1996:
11:45 local time four officers from FSB visited Bellonas office in Murmansk. Kpt. Maksimenkov, head of the investigation group, was among them. They informed that they would perform a "investigation experiment" in accordance with Russian code. They said that they did not need to get permission, since they have a right to perform such experiments in rooms of any juridical person on the territory of Russia. After that, in a presence of Sergey Filippov and two witnesses, FSB officers faxed two pages to the Bellona office in Oslo using Bellonas faxmodem and faxmachine. Bellonas logo were on the pages followed by meaningless characters. The officers documented the time it took to send the faxes to Oslo. After that, the experiment was over. The witnesses and Sergey Filippov signed a protocol and then the FSB officers left Bellonas office. (Facsimile of the beginning of the FSB-Fax – gif, 27k)
Facsimile of the beginning of the FSB-Fax – gif, 27k :

April 24 1996:
Both Bellona head Frederic Hauge and environmental councel to President Yeltsin, A. Jablokov, raised the Nikitin-case and the need for openness, during the hearing about nuclear safety ten years after the Tchernobyl accident in Brussels today. The hearing, arranged by Globe International and Bellona, was open to EU MEPs and invited guests. Approx. 70 persons attended, most of them journalists.
Pressrelease from Bellona, 1996-04-04 :

April 23 1996:
Letter rom the American Ambassador in Moscow to Boris Altshuler, Chairman of "the Comittee for Defence of Alexandr Nikitin".
Letter from the US Embassy :

April 22 1996:
The Bellona office in Murmansk was searched by agents from the FSB again today. Two local FSB officers and one from St. Petersburg, with two witnesses in tow, told Bellona employee Sergey Philippov to leave, as they wanted to talk to Bellona secretary Luba Kovaleva. The agents did not provide IDs or a search warrant, but on being prompted by Philippov answered that they would carry out their task regardless. The agents stayed at the office for an hour, checking telephone lines and taking notes on technical issues from the fax and modem manuals.

April 21 1996:
Moscow Nuclear Safety and Security Summit Declaration, det final document from the G7 + 1 summit, available here.
Moscow Nuclear Safety and Security Summit Declaration :

April 20 1996 – 2:
New Scientist has an Editorial about the Nikitin-case: "In the anarcy of the former soviet union, it is amazing what you can find out by browsing through press clippings, government reports and books by retired russian admirals. It is amuzing, but to the FSB, the state security police, not amusing. Its officers have arrested Alexandr Nikitin, one of the russian authors of the report,(…). They conclude with: "If the nuclear situation in the rest of Russia is as bad as it is on the Arctic naval bases, the country needs help.
And it wont come from the state security police."

April 20 1996 – 1:
Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien today expressed his concerns for the Nikitin case, during a meeting with Russian president Boris Yeltsin. Chretien delivered a letter of concern to Yeltsin, and said Canada will follow the case thouroughly, and that the country would gladly welcome Nikitin in case Russia finds him too much of a problem.
Some Russian press-clippings. :

April 19 1996:
The NGO conference Moscow Nuclear Summit Watch supported the case of Alexandr Nikitin with an appeal to President Yeltsin, signed by co-chairmen Alexei Yablokov and Thomas Cochran.
Appeal from NGO conference Moscow Nuclear Summit Watch :

April 18 1996:
The new Bellona Report "The Russian North Fleet – Sources of Radioactive Contamination" was released at a press conference in Moscow today, the day before the G7+1 meeting on nuclear safety in Moscow. It was his work on this report that led to the arrest of Alexandr Nikitin. Whereas Bellona can prove that all information in the report stems from open sources, the FSB claims to have found state secrets in the material.
Bellona press conference :

April 17 1996 – 3:
At a press conference the 17. April a "Committee for defence of Alexandr Nikitin" was founded by Moscow Center for Human Rights and Group "Scientists for Human Rights" (Moscow Branch of Andrei Sakharov Foundation).

April 17 1996 – 2:
The group of investigators from FSB have since April 16. been in Murmansk interrogating several people as a part of their investigation in the "Nikitin case". Two of the people in Bellonas staff in Murmansk were interrogated once more. They were also presented a document where they were asked to sign a paper of security clearance in relation to the interrogations they had to go through in the "Nikitin case". The staff members of Bellona refused to sign the paper. In addition to this the FSB have interrogated several of the officers in the North Fleet that have been in contact with Nikitin. It is not known how long time the FSB agents were in Murmansk.

April 17 1996 – 1:
The French President Jacques Chirac sent a letter to Brice Lalonde, former French Minister of Environment, head of Generation Ecologie and the French support committee for Nikitin. The commitee maintain web pages in French and English.

April 11 1996:
Nikitin is indicted, but the text of the indictment remains classified.

April 10 1996 – 3:
After going through most of the FSB evidence, Nikitin’s lawyer Jury Schmidt today ascertained that the FSB’s case against Nikitin is based on material in the upcoming report on the Northern Fleet.

April 10 1996 – 2:
Former head of the European Commission Jaques Delors, today signed a petition in support of Nikitin, authored by former French environmental minister Brice Lalonde. The petition urges French president Jaques Chirac to raise the issue of Nikitin with president Yeltsin.

April 10 1996 – 1:
Alexandr Nikitin was put on isolation today, after having shared cell with two other prisoners at different times. Alexandr is quite certain that both the two cellmates were FSB agents.

April 9 1996:
Head of Bellona Murmansk and coauthor of the upcoming report, Igor Kudrik, was threatened with a half year imprisonment today, when he refused to answer certain questions during interrogation without a lawyer present. He also refused to sign a paper of security clearance. Kudrik fears he is next on FSB’s list of alleged environmentalist spies.

April 4 1996:
Alexandr Nikitin shall be kept in custody three more months awaiting his trial, ruled a Russian military court today. The court rejected a request from the lawyer to release Nikitin for bail until the trial is raised. The time of this trial is uncertain. During the custody hearings, Nikitin was placed in a cage guarded by six soldiers armed with machine-guns. The lawyer, Yuri Schmidt, claims that the FSB are still breaking the Russian Constitution in their handling of the case against Alexandr Nikitin. The judge in the custody hearing pointed out that the FSB had done a mistake in refusing Nikitin a lawyer.

March 29 1996 – 2:
The FSB refused a request from Nikitin’s wife Tatyana Tchernova, who applied to meet with her husband in prison. According to Nikitin’s lawyer Jury Schmidt, the refusal is in violation of the law, and a complaint has been filed with the State Prosecutor in St. Petersburg. Probably Tatyana will be able to meet with her husband next week.

March 29 1996 – 1:
Alexandr Nikitin was allowed to meet his lawyer Yuri Shmidt today, in accordance with the constitutional court which on Wednesday 27th ruled that the strict security measures enforced by the FSB towards the lawyer are illegal. The meeting took place in the FSB prison in St. Petersburg. The lawyer will now be allowed access to the case documents prepared by the FSB against Nikitin.

March 27 1996:
The Constitutional Court today made the verdict in favor of the complaints from Alexandr Nikitin and Bellona. Alexandr Nikitin now has the right to freely choose his own lawyer.
Pressrelease from Bellona, 1996-03-27 :

March 26 1996 – 2:
Head of Norway’s biggest workman’s association, the LO, Yngve Hågensen, delivered a letter to President Yeltsin today. Among other things Hågensen writes: "This is a matter of violations of both international law and the human rights.
Such violations are not worthy the Russian democratic government."

March 26 1996 – 1:
President Boris Yeltsin declared at a press conference in Oslo today after talks with Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, that he guarantees that Nikitin shall get the lawyer of his choice.

March 25 1996:
Almost 5000 people participated at a rally in support of Nikitin in the centre of Oslo today, during the official visit of President Boris Yeltsin. The arrangement was supported by 37 Norwegian organisations. CNN covered Yeltsins visit.
4 – 5.000 people showed their support for Alexandr Nikitin :

March 22 1996:
Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland has confirmed that she will discuss Nikitin’s situation with President Boris Yeltsin during his visit in Oslo on March 25 and 26. It is however not certain whether the Prime Minister will hand over a letter she has received from the wife of Nikitin, Tatyana Tchernova. In the letter Mrs. Tchernova asks President Yeltsin to involve himself personally and guarantee Nikitin a fair trial.

March 21 1996:
Rock artist Sting wrote a letter to President Yeltsin last week, urging Yeltsin to carefully examine Nikitin’s case. During a concert in Oslo this evening, Sting appealed to the audience to support Nikitin.

March 16 1996:
Mr. Thor Heyerdahl, famous for his expeditions on the Ra and the Kontiki-rafts, has signed an appeal in support of Nikitin. He also informed the organisation Green Cross International which also gives their support. Mikhail Gorbachev, president of the Green Cross, has however not yet had the time to look into the case due to his travels on the election campaign.

March 14 1996:
Today the Russian Constitutional Court explored the constitutional rights of an accused person to choose a lawyer, on behalf of Mr. Nikitin, Mr Gurdzyance and Mrs. Sintsova. It is not known what the two latter are accused of, the accusations being secret, however it is known that it concerns handling of ecological information. Mr. Nikitin’s lawyer Yuri Shmidt, stated somewhat ironically in court that Russia had never seen a lawyer accused of revealing state secrets, but there had been many instances of FSB personnel accused of that kind of activity. Nikitin’s wife, Tatyana Tchernova and Bellona’s Frederic Hauge had a positive impression from the court proceedings. A verdict will not fall before the middle of week 11.

March 6 1996:
CNN: Russia arrests consultant on nuclear sub cleanup.
CNN: Russia arrests consultant on nuclear sub cleanup. :

February 28 1996:
The President of the European Council, Mrs. Leni Fischer, wrote a letter to the Russian foreign minister Primakov today. In the letter she congratulates Russia with the membership, and then expresses concern on the handling of the Nikitin-case.

February 29 1996 – 2:
Also today, Norwegian parliamentarians sent a letter to their colleagues in the Russian Duma, asking their Russian colleagues to get involved in Nikitin’s case and safeguard his human rights.
Norwegian parliamentarians sent a letter to their colleagues :

February 29 1996 – 1:
A committee has been created by the French environmental organisation "Génération Ecologie", headed by former French Minister of Environment Brice Lalonde, to support Nikitin. They also have Web-pages in French and English.

February 20 1996 – 2:
Also today, the wife of Alexandr Nikitin appealed to the Norwegian prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland in an open letter.
The letter til Gro Harlem Brundtland :

February 20 1996 – 1:
Russian Foreign Ministry’s press-centre issued a press briefing on the Nikitin case today, stating among other things that "The Nikitin-case" has already been covered extensively enough in the Russian press" and "The EU-parliament’s interference is out of order, at least until the investigation is closed."

February 19 1996 – 2:
The Russian human right advocate Sergey Kovalyov stated on a press conference in Oslo today that Nikitin is treated contrary to the law, and that he is victim of a barbaric common law that gives all reasons for worry. Kovalyov was in Oslo to receive the Helsinki committee Sakharov price for his work for human rights.

February 19 1996 – 1:
Bellona’s lawyer in St. Petersburg, Yuri Shmidt, is now preparing the case of Nikitin’s right to freely choose an independent lawyer. The case appears for the Russian Constitutional Court on March 14. Schmidt will emphasise that the FSB, according to the Russian constitution, cannot make up their own laws and employ them in a criminal case. In the Nikitin case it is the laws of the FSB that requires that Nikitin’s lawyer must sign a security statement before being allowed to see the indictment.

February 15 1996:
The European Parliament unanimously adopted a resolution on the Nikitin case today.
The resolution :

February 9 1996:
Amnesty International issued an Urgent Action bulletin today, saying they consider Nikitin to be a possible prisoner of conscience
Amnesty International: Urgent Action bulletin :

February 6 1996:
At 7:00 a.m. this morning, Bellona co-worker Alexandr Nikitin was arrested by five FSB agents in his home. He was taken to the local FSB head quarters, where he now is in detention. Nikitin is accused of espionage according to paragraph 64 a of Russian Criminal Law, the minimum penalty of which is 10 years imprisonment.
Maximum penalty is execution.
Pressrelease from Bellona, 1996-02-06 :

January 10 1996:
The confiscated Bellona material, including notes on the new report, was transferred to a committee of experts appointed by the Russian navy today. The committee is to evaluate the material in search of state or military secrets. (No official statement has been released by or about this committee since)