The Trial of Sergei Grigoryants, 8-25 September 1975 (38.7)

<<No 38 : 31 December 1975>>

In November 1974 the procurator’s office of the Babushkino district of Moscow initiated a criminal case against S. I. Grigoryants under Article 190-1 of the RSFSR Criminal Code.

Sergei Ivanovich Grigoryants was born in 1941; he is a writer; in 1974 he and his family left Kiev and came to live in Moscow.

On 4 March 1975, S. I. Grigoryants was arrested. The pre-trial investigation ended in the middle of June. The investigation was headed by investigator Lekanov of the Babushkino district procurator’s office. Two weeks before the end of the investigation new charges were brought against Grigoryants under Article 154, section 2, of the RSFSR Criminal Code (“speculation”) and Article 211 (“infringement of traffic safety regulations and exploitation of transport by persons directing means of transport”).

From 8 to 25 September the Moscow City Court dealt with the case of Grigoryants. The presiding judge was Kareva. The prosecutor was procurator Poddubnaya. The defence was conducted by the lawyer L. A. Yudovich. By order of the court the trial of Grigoryants was held in closed court (in the opinion of the Chronicle this is an infringement of Article 18 of the RSFSR Code of Criminal Procedure). Because of this there were no spectators in the courtroom. Only the wife and mother of the accused were allowed to remain in court after they had given evidence as witnesses at the very end of the judicial examination of evidence.

Under Article 190-1 Grigoryants was charged with selling to the Moscow literary critic N. P. Smirnov a few issues of the journal Grani, a few issues of the periodical Mosty, and a 1971 catalogue, published in Oxford, of foreign publications in Russian. According to the verdict, the charge under Article 190-1 was supported by the testimony of N. P. Smirnov and Grigoryants himself. The court did not examine the question of whether the “documents” referred to in the charges really contained “defamatory fabrications”.

In spite of this the sentence based the charge of ‘knowingly spreading false information’ on the fact that the accused had tried to send abroad secretly a letter referring to these “documents”.

Under Article 154 Grigoryants was charged with three instances of reselling drawings and paintings. Grigoryants pleaded not guilty to these episodes. He stated that all these episodes did not extend beyond the normal activities of collectors: that is, exchanging some objects for others and ridding collections of unwanted items. The court did not agree with the arguments of the accused and his lawyer: all the episodes were included in the indictment. The second part of Article 154 was said to be relevant because of the large scale’ of the speculation involved.

The charge relating to Article 211 was ruled by the court to be unproven.

The court sentenced Grigoryants to 3 years under Article 190-1 and under Article 154, section 2, to 5 years of hard regime, with confiscation of property. The total sentence was ruled to be the same as the sentence under Article 154.