Former submarine officers support Nikitin in court

Publish date: November 24, 1999

Written by: Sergey Filippov

On November 23 during open session of the St.-Petersburg City court on the case of Alexander Nikitin, the former submarine officers made an official application to the court. These officers are the members of the Public Committee to Protect the Rights, Honour and Dignity of the Seamen of Navy Submarine Forces. The committee is a part of the Charitable Society in Memory of the Nuclear Submarine "Komsomolets". The officers used the occasion of the trial to deliver their official petition to the court.

The former high-ranking officers carried out their own independent expert evaluation of the materials, which were used during the writing of the report about Northern fleet. They also evaluated the charges against Nikitin.

As the officers have declared, neither the FSB inspectors nor the personnel of the prosecution office, have paid any attention to the fact that all the documents and materials which had been used in the Bellona report were taken only from open sources. Despite the numerous demands from the former submarine officers, the investigation has not carried out a comparison of the Northern Fleet report with the materials from the open sources.

The former Naval officers found ridiculous the prosecution concerns regarding the issue of Nikitin’s failure to return an officer’s ID card when he was a lieutenant.

First of all, the former officers explained, navy officers have an old tradition – to leave the first officer’s ID for memory. When Nikitin retired he handed over the valid ID to the military registration office in accordance with the rules. The last position was also mentioned in the ID. It is silly to assume, they argued, that Alexander Nikitin by keeping the first officer’s ID, planned to commit a crime at some point in the distant future. As for the so-called “penetrations of Nikitin to the territory of the military object”, it is nothing else, they said, but the open visiting by the former student of the educational institution (Naval Academy in St.-Petersburg) with which is connected many memoirs. Before Alexander began to work for Bellona, he often visited the academy and nobody prosecuted him for that. A few secret documents Alexander has allegedly read in the academy during his visits were familiar to Alexander many years before. He worked with them during his service in the Northern fleet, being a student of the Academy, and also while working in the Inspection of Nuclear safety of nuclear installations of the Defence Ministry. These documents Alexander knows by heart and the fact that he read them in Academy does not prove his criminal intentions at all, the officers argued.

The former submarine officers have declared, that the actions of the FSB investigation body is an attempt to revive “the private right of special services on reprisal of the citizens on the basis of unfounded accusations and negligence of the prosecution office.” This is now condemned by Russian society.

At the end of the petition, the retired submarine officers especially wanted the judges to pay attention to the following fact, which in their opinion is clear to any sane man:

“What damage to Russian security can be inflicted by recurrence in mass media of the information distributed repeatedly many years before? The damage to Russian security may have been inflicted in the past, but that is no longer the issue today. Where then, were the bodies protecting on behalf of the state this information?”

The given application is signed by the chairman of the Public Committee to Protect the Rights, Honour and Dignity of the Seamen of Navy Submarine Forces, part of the Charitable Society in Memory of the Nuclear Submarine “Komsomolets” by the Vice-Admiral V. Khramtsov, and also members of the society Vice-Admiral Å. Chernov, Rear-Admirals V. Monastyrshin, G. Shabalin, 1st Rank Captains G. Alexandrov, V. Fursov, Colonel K. Rayevsky and others.