Consequences of a conviction

Publish date: December 22, 1999

Written by: Jon Gauslaa

If Nikitin is convicted on December 29, 1999, the consequences will be dramatic not only for Nikitin, but for all forces working for the establishment of the rule of law in the Russian Federation.


Today, the St. Petersburg City Court announced that the court would be set again on December 29. The word will first be given to the accused, while the court is expected to announce its verdict later the same day.

The Court has carried out a thorough evaluation of the case. It has questioned Mr. Nikitin, the witnesses and the experts. It has evaluated the open sources to the Bellona-report, the case files and the legal foundation of the indictment, and finally it has listened to the closing speeches of the prosecution and the defence.

The prosecution’s case was weak at the starting point and it has been further weakened throughout the trial. From a juridical point if view, there is no doubt that Nikitin should win the case. However, even if the City Court has carried out the proceedings in a fair and equal manner, we do not know if the decision actually will be taken in the courtroom, or if somebody else already has taken it.

If Nikitin is convicted, the consequences might be dramatic not only for him, but for all forces struggling to establish the rule of law in Russia.


  • A conviction will mean that the Russian legal system looses its credibility.
  • A conviction will mean that all the small victories Nikitin has won throughout the proceedings against him will be wasted. What is for instance the point of having a lawyer of your own choice, if the law is not functioning?
  • A conviction will mean that the secret and retroactive military decrees are given higher value than the regulations of the Constitution and the Federal Law, and that the latter regulations are worthless when colliding with the secret legislation.
  • A conviction will mean that FSB-investigators can continue to fabricate charges against whoever they want whenever they want – and with the help of their “experts” -henchmen in various Ministries and Departments, get them convicted, just like the NKVD and the KGB did in the old days.
  • A conviction will mean that it is not the State Duma that was elected on December 19, which is the real legislative authority of Russia, since legal acts adopted by the Duma at any time can be overrun by a secret – and if it needs to be retroactive – decree.
  • A conviction will mean that the dark forces have regained control over the judiciary.
  • A conviction will be a tragedy, not only for Aleksandr Nikitin, but even more for Russia itself.

    December 29, 1999 will be the moment of truth for the Russian legal system. Its faith is now in the hands of the St. Petersburg City Court. Hopefully the Court will be able to live up to its responsibility. The way the proceedings have been conducted might indicate that it will, but very few will know before judgement day.