9 August 2020
Participants in the Congress of the Intelligentsia of Russia appeal to the military and law enforcement bodies of Belarus and the Russian Federation.
Source: Moscow Helsinki Group [original source: Эхо Москвы,]
to the generals, officers and soldiers of the army, as well as the police and special forces of the Republic of Belarus;
to the generals, officers and soldiers of the army, as well as the police, National Guard and special forces of the Russian Federation;
We, the undersigned citizens of the Russian Federation, call upon you to remember General Matvei Kuzmich Shaposhnikov, Hero of the Soviet Union, a tank commander who went through the entire war protecting our people from fascist invaders.
On 2 June 1962, the general received an order to attack with tanks the workers of Novocherkassk, who had come to the headquarters of the City Party Committee to get answers from the authorities to their pressing questions. “I see no enemy before me,” the general responded to the criminal order. But there were those prepared to be executioners who began shamefully to shoot the workers from the roofs, from the windows, from the backyards. Matvei Kuzmich saved thousands of people and saved the city from destruction. For refusing to go against the people, he was expelled from the CPSU, deprived of the rank of general and of his military honours. But they did not dare to deprive him of the title of Hero. Mikhail Gorbachev gave him back the rank of general and his military honours, but Matvei Kuzmich refused to rejoin the party of executioners.
On 2 June in Novocherkassk 26 people were shamefully murdered, 112 people were convicted and seven of them sentenced to be shot. Over 50 people were wounded. Children were also killed, but to this day the authorities have never revealed the terrible secret – the places of burial of the boys and girls who were killed when, out of curiosity, they ran onto Lenin Square where the people of Novocherkassk were being killed and climbed trees. They were wounded and killed with warning shots fired into the air. The residents of Novocherkassk who were killed were wrapped in tarpaulins at night, two or three bodies in each tarpaulin, and were secretly placed in other people’s graves in various cemeteries in Rostov region. The criminal, bloody Soviet regime humiliated, tortured and killed our people throughout its history.
And we urge you not to obey criminal orders of this kind, so that you would not later become the executioners of your own people and not end up on trial for these crimes. If you are given such orders orally or by phone, ignore them. Otherwise, criminals with high ranks will blame you and you will be the ones to end up in the dock. You may only obey written orders that clearly state your actions, what you should do and how you should do them, by what means, under what circumstances, what is prohibited and what is permitted. If you consider an order criminal, you may have the right to appeal to the Military Prosecution Service. And remember, – a soldier shooting at their own people – is an executioner! Be defenders of the people, as General Matvei Kuzmich Shaposhnikov was all his life!
For a list of signatories, see here.
Translated by Simon Cosgrove