Skip to main content
  • Share to or

‘My case is a drop in the ocean’ Meduza’s translation of Lyusya Shtein’s final remarks in the ‘Sanitary Case’ trial

Source: Meduza
Anatoly Zhdanov / Kommersant

On August 25, Moscow’s Preobrazhensky District Court sentenced municipal deputy and Pussy Riot activist Lyusya Shtein to one year of “restrictions on freedom.” This is the latest parole-like sentence handed down to a defendant in the so-called “Sanitary Case.” The court prohibited Shtein from leaving her home between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., attending and participating in mass gatherings, and traveling outside of Moscow without permission from the authorities. Shtein is also obliged to report to a probation office twice a month. Meduza shares a full English-language translation of Lyusya Shtein’s final courtroom remarks here. 

I will not speak on the merits of the case, because I have no one to appeal to — all of the participants in the proceedings understand what this case is. But I would like to say that I’m not the only one present here who’s being deprived of the right to freedom of speech. In this sense, the judge and I have a lot in common, because you too, like me, are forbidden from having your own opinion under threat of punishment. Only in my case it’s a felony, and in yours it’s a dismissal. 

It’s obvious to everyone that a real trial isn’t happening right now, that we have to play this game both on the part of the defense and on the part of the prosecution. And the fact that such an absurd case was brought before a judge for consideration speaks to the fact that these punishers don’t value you as professionals. In a normal situation, with sound justice, any prosecutor would hesitate to dump such nonsense on your desk. But these volumes, which the investigation ground out for six months, were actually handed over to the court. 

I would like for judges to be respected, for court decisions to be a source of justice. But if even subordinate bodies treat judges with such disdain, what’s there to say about society?

My case isn’t a special case. Just now they’ll appoint me these “restrictions on freedom” — it’s really nothing to be scared of. Although this verdict will naturally be unfair, against the backdrop of the monstrous prison terms that people are given for nothing just like that, this comes off as flowers.

So, the point is that in supporting this particular injustice, which may seem insignificant to you, you’re supporting an entire system of political persecutions, a system of torture, poisonings, and murders. In the name of maintaining power, you’re supporting the lives ruined in [prison] colonies, the separation of parents from their children, theft, and election fraud.

My case is a drop in the ocean, but the destruction of human rights in Russia consists of such drops. And when you hand down a conviction in this political case, you’re handing it down to the entire country. But, even if not this time, it’s never too late to do otherwise.

You can read Lyusya Shtein’s final remarks in Russian here.

Translation by Eilish Hart

  • Share to or