Zoya Svetova: In search of a fair trial. Why the ‘No Way’ podcast is needed.

1 July 2020

By Zoya Svetova – introducing her new podcasts

Source: MBK-News

Today is 1 July, the day voting takes place on the constitutional amendments. Some people are voting, others are boycotting the vote. Many of us have opened the text of the Constitution for the first time in our lives. The country’s supreme law.

Photo: Aleksandr Koryakov / Kommersant

Having opened it, you would probably have found one of the important articles of the second chapter of the Constitution. Article 46: ‘Everyone shall be guaranteed judicial protection of their rights and freedoms.’

That is, everyone has the right to a fair trial. That is what it states in the Constitution. But what happens in reality? What happens in real life in our country?

Photo of Vladimir Bogushevsky from his Facebook page

On 7 April 2008, Kirov district court in Ekaterinburg sentenced Vladimir Bogushevsky to nine years for the murder of Irina Zlatina.

For a murder he did not commit.

Photo of Dmitry Golubyatnikov from his personal archive

On 12 January 2004, Tikhoretsky city court sentenced Dmitry Golubyatnikov to 12 years in a penal colony for the murder of Larisa Sitnik.

For a murder he did not commit.

Photo of Konstantin Serezhin by Dmitry Kandinsky / vtomske.ru

On 4 August 2015, Tomsk district court in Tomsk region sentenced Konstantin Serezhin to nine and a half years in a penal colony for organising the beating of Maksim Haikis, who subsequently died in hospital.

For organising a murder he did not organise.

Photo of Vasily Andreevsky by Vasily Petrov, Facebook

On 8 December 2004, Babushkinsky district court in Moscow sentenced Vasily Andreevsky to 15 years in a penal colony for the murder of Kaleria Minina.

For a murder he did not commit.

These are just four individual stories. I talk about these cases in the ‘No Way’ podcast. But, in fact, these stories are just drops in a sea of human histories, histories of fabricated criminal cases, falsified evidence and broken human lives behind which stand specific individuals: police officers, investigators, prosecutors and judges.

Their names will someday be recorded in a ‘black book’ of the Russian justice system listing officials who broke the law but went unpunished.


Every hour of every day in Russia, Article 46 of the Russian Constitution – the right to judicial protection, to a fair trial – is violated. But no one notices. It has become an ordinary, routine thing.

And this means there is no judicial protection or fair trial in Russia.

My heroes have gone through torture and humiliation. They have been disappointed with the court system in which they placed their hopes. They have passed through the university of prison.

They have not become embittered. Unlike the Count of Monte Cristo, they do not want revenge on the investigators who fabricated the charges against them, or revenge on the judges who wrongly convicted them.

They tell their stories, testifying to their innocence.

They expect understanding and justice from us.

Are you ready, after listening to the podcast, to become jurors and deliver your verdicts in our heroes’ cases? After all, for various reasons, they were all denied trial by jury.

And for them it is of the utmost importance to be heard and acquitted.

In the fifth episode we talk with two former investigators who are now lawyers – Marina Andreeva and Andrei Grivtsov.

They explain why investigators falsify evidence and fabricate cases, while judges hand down tough verdicts that are more like indictments than fair judgments.

The former investigators, now lawyers, describe jury trials as the model for a fair trial. But only if the jury is not subject to external pressure.

I hope that you, our listeners, are independent and free. I hope that it is impossible to put pressure on you.

That is why we await your verdicts.

And hope for a fair hearing.

Listen to our No Way podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Yandex.Music and other platforms. Rate us with your stars and likes.

And give your verdicts.

Translated by Simon Cosgrove

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