Staunton, September 27 – Since October 1991, Russian military prosecutors have been examining the cases of those Soviet citizens convicted during the Great Terror. Today, they announced that 180,000 of the 300,000 found guilty at that time in fact violated the law and were convicted correctly (interfax.ru/russia/678205).
On the one hand, this represents another step by the Putin regime to rehabilitate Stalin. But on the other hand, the real crime here is that in order to reach the conclusions they did, Russian military prosecutors had to accept as legitimate both Stalin’s patently illegal “laws” and even more patently illegal judicial procedures.
And while this action does not necessarily open the way to a new GULAG as some have suggested (e.g., censoru.net/39057-kolyma-mogut-povtorit.html), it does continue the attacks on the legal system in Russia by suggesting that any laws or decrees the government issues and any judicial procedures it follows are by definition “legal.”
That is the real crime in this case because it undermines both law and justice in Russia by re-enforcing the still widespread belief there that whatever the authorities do is justified and even just, an attitude that vitiates the meaning of law and even more of the Constitution and opens the way to more abuses in the future.
Moreover, and as even Interfax noted in its report on this new statement, “the exact number of those condemned during the years of Soviet repressions is unknown.” But most estimates but the figure in the millions, far higher than the 300,000 the military prosecutors mentioned, yet another way the Putin regime is trying to whitewash Stalin for its own benefit.