Role of solicitors in legal defense of the accused on political litigation of the great terror period (1937–1938) and such in regard of the dissident movement (1960’s-1980’s)

Makarchuk V., Zakharchyn N.
Role of solicitors in legal defense of the accused on political
litigation of the great terror period (1937–1938) and such
in regard of the dissident movement (1960’s-1980’s)

Lviv Polytechnic National University, Institute of Jurisprudence and Psychology
Department of History of Ukraine Political Science and Law National Forestry University of Ukraine (NLTU)

Special features of the Soviet procedural law provided for the mandatory participation of the attorney, hired by the defendant himself or provided by the government, in addition to the participation of public prosecution (prosecutor) in the process. Nevertheless, defendants maintained “the right” of abandoning attorney services. Abandoning attorney services was often a tactical move – the defendant kind of pleaded guilty, demonstrated deep remorse, and fully relied on fairness and humanism of the Soviet court. In some cases (if not in the majority of them) the defendant was aware of the meaninglessness of the attorney’s involvement whose services would be paid from a small family budget. Per example, on the most high-profile political process of the late 1930s – “On the case of the Anti-Soviet Bloc of Rightists and Trotskyites” (Moscow, 2–12th March 1938) all of the accused, excluding the doctors – Lev Levin, Dmitrii Pletnev, Ignat Kazakov (the latter two shared the defender, N. V. Kommodov), had dismissed the lawyers’ services before the trial began. After 11 days of the process, the floor was given only to two attorneys – N.D. Braude and N. Kommodov (session of 11th March). Both of them fully recognized the charges and only asked for empathy for the particular “criminals”. In contrast to the victims of political repression of the Stalinist era, those accused in the trials of dissidents in the 1960s–1980s could count on legal assistance. However, the circle of attorneys admitted by the Soviet government to political trials was rather narrow. Most of them – for various reasons – cooperated with this government more or less. At the same time, individual attorneys of the late Soviet era honourably performed the difficult (and often dangerous for their own career as a lawyer) task of defending victims of communist political repression. Attorney’s practice of S. V. Kallistratova, D. I. Kaminska, Y. B. Pozdeev, V. B. Romm and N. A. Monakhov is studied in article. On July 10, 1970, the then chairman of the KGB (in the future – head of state) Y. V. Andropov addressed the Central Committee of the CPSU with a “private” letter about the “misconduct” of individual attorneys in the trials, primarily D. I. Kaminskaya and S. V. Kallistratova. Among the Ukrainian lawyers, who defended the political defendants at the trials of the 1960s–1980s, only Sergei Makarovich Martysh, the representative of the Darnitsa Bar Association, deserves a kind word.

1. Nykyforak M., Maksim'yuk O. History of Law of Foreign Countries. Praktykum [History of the state and law of foreign countries]. Chernivtsi: Zel. Bukovina, 2012, 526 p. 2. Soviet justice [Soviet justice]. M: Gosyurizdat, 1949. 140 p. 3. The Great Purge [The Great Terror] // %B8%D0%BA%D0%B8%D0%B9_%D1%82%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%BE%D1%80 4. Judicial report on the case of the anti-Soviet “right-wing Trotskyist” [Judicial report on the case of the anti-Soviet "right-wing Trotskyist" bloc] bloc. March 2–13, 1938, Moscow: Legal Publishing House of the NKVD of the USSR, 1938. 386 p. 5. Solzhenitsyn A. The Gulag Archipelago [Gulag Archipelago]. M.: INCOM – NV, 1991. Vol. 1. 544 p. 6. Kalistratova, Sofiya Vasilyevna [Kalistratova, Sofya Vasilyevna] // 9A%D0%B0%D0%BB%D0%BB%D0%B8%D1%81%D1%82%D1%80%D0%B0%D1%82%D0%BE%D0%B2%D 0%B0,_%D0%A1%D0%BE%D1%84%D1%8C%D1%8F_%D0%92%D0%B0%D1%81%D0%B8%D0%BB%D1% 8C%D0%B5%D0%B2%D0%BD%D0%B0. 7. Kaminskaya, Dina Isaakovna [Kaminskaya, Dina Isaakovna] // 9A%D0%B0%D0%BC%D0%B8%D0%BD%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B0%D1%8F,_%D0%94%D0%B8%D0%BD %D0%B0_%D0%98%D1%81%D0%B0%D0%B0%D0%BA%D0%BE%D0%B2%D0%BD%D0%B0. 8. The Protector Kalistratova: the person and the human rights defender [Man and human rights activist] // 9. Gorbanevskaya N. Noon. The case of the demonstration on August 25, 1968 in Red Square [The case of the demonstration on August 25, 1968 on Red Square]. // cJeAAAAQBAJ&pg=PT395&lpg=PT395&dq=%D0%9F%D0%BE%D0%B7%D0%B4%D1%94%D1%94%D0%B 2+%D0%AE.%D0%91.&source=bl&ots=r6GA5R83XG&sig=dyUmNoR-4cw-vhCuLefBIQTiYws&hl=uk&sa= сX&ved=0ahUKEwit7YrJmdDaAhWIiiw KH WbQAfIQ6AEIKTAA#v=onepage&q=%D0%9F%D0%BE%D0% B7%D0%B4 %D1%94%D1%94%D0%B2%20%D0%AE.%D0%91.&f=false. 10. Okhrimovych A. “Alternative”: Interview with Nadiya Svitlychna [“Alternative”: Interview with Nadezhda Svitlichnaya] //