On the eve of the closing speeches of the trial against Aleksandr Nikitin, it is time to underline that none of the conditions for convicting Nikitin for state treason in the form of espionage under Article 275 of the Russian Penal Code are fulfilled. Neither are any of the conditions for convicting him for disclosure of state secrets under Article 283 fullfilled.
Article 275 state treason in the form of espionage
In order to get Nikitin convicted for state treason in the form of espionage, the prosecutor has to prove that Nikitin in August and September 1995:
i) The alleged collecting and transferral of state secrets
The questioning of the experts from the 8th Department of the General Staff proved what the defence has claimed all the time. The experts have used only secret and retroactive Ministry of Defence decrees in order to determine that the disputed information about submarine accidents in the Bellona-report pertains to state secrets. However, this information did not pertain to state secrets in 1995, since it at that time was not classified according to the regulations of the Federal Law on State Secrets.
Moreover, Nikitin could not possibly know that the information was secret, since the classification was carried out in secret and/or retroactive decrees, and not in the legislation that was officially published in 1995. On the contrary, this legislation stated that ecological relevant information could not be classified as state secrets. See for instance Article 7 of the Law on State secrets and Articles 42 and 41 of the Russian Constitution.
ii) No intent of treason
The trial has clarified that Nikitins intention with participating in the writing of the Bellona-report was to attract attention and financial support in order to improve the nuclear safety in the Russian Northern areas in general, and within the Northern Fleet in particular.
Thus, his actions were not committed in order to damage the security of Russia, but in order to strengthen its environmental safety. Nikitin did not have any intent of treason.
iii) Bellonas intentions
The testimony of Thomas Nilsen showed that Bellonas work was strongly supported also by Russian local and central authorities in 1994 and 1995. Before Nikitin was acquainted with Bellona, the organisations work resulted in fundings from the Norwegian Parliament and the European Union to the nuclear clean up of the Kola Peninsula.
Bellonas intentions with writing the Northern Fleet report was not to undermine the security of Russia, and there is no way that Nikitin could have realised that Bellona had such intentions. On the contrary, Bellonas purpose with writing the report and with its work in Russia in general, was and is the same as Nikitins: To attract attention to and financial support for improving the ecological safety in the country.
It follows from the above-mentioned that Nikitin did not collect and transfer to Bellona any information pertaining to state secrets. He had no bad intentions with his actions and Bellonas purpose was and is not to undermine the security of Russia.
Thus, neither the objective nor the subjective conditions in Article 275 for convicting Nikitin for state reason through espionage are fulfilled.
Article 283 disclosure of state secrets without the intent of treason
In order to convict Nikitin for disclosure of state secrets about third generation of naval reactors, the prosecution does not have to prove that he or Bellona had any intentions of damaging the security of Russia. However, he still has to prove that Nikitin:
However, as it is evident of the description above, the information was not classified according to regulations of the Law on State Secrets, but only according to secret decrees. The information can therefore not be considered as state secrets, and because of this, Nikitin could not know that the information was secret.
Thus, neither the objective nor the subjective conditions for convicting Nikitin for disclosure of state secrets (without the intents of treason) under Article 283 are fulfilled.
Nikitin should be acquitted of all charges, especially since the prosecutor according to Article 49 of the Russian Constitution has to prove that all the conditions of Articles 275 and 283 are fulfilled to get a conviction. However, in this case the prosecutor has not been able to prove that any of these conditions are fulfilled. On the contrary, Nikitin has even if he according to Article 49 doesnt have to proven his innocence.