Freedom for Andrei Sokolov!

The first conviction in the case of the "New Revolutionary Alternative" has come down. On the 4th of April the Lefortovski court in Moscow convicted Andrei Sokolov, the 22 year old member of the Revolutionary Communist League of Youth, to 5.5 years of general imprisonment.

Andrei Sokolov was arrested in June of 2000. He was formally charged with the offense of possession of weapons, ammunition and explosives. The investigators were in a hurry to tell journalists that Sokolov allegedly was a member of the "underground left-radical terrorist organization" "New Revolutionary Alternative" (NRA), and that in this organization he headed a certain Technical Department, and took part in blowing up statues of Nicholas II, in mining of the statue of Peter the Great, and also manufactured at home several hundred kilograms of explosives, which he hid in Moscow in a cache on the grounds of the arboretum.

However these accusations were not heard in the court. The only accusations brought against Sokolov are that at the moment of his arrest a pistol with 60 automatic cartridges was found on his person, and that upon searching his apartment 90.3 grams of ammonal (tr: a weak explosive, based on Ammonium Nitrate) was found. Sokolov himself denied guilt and declared that his case has been falsified. According to Sokolov's evidence, he was arrested not in Moscow near his home, as the investigators claimed, but in the Pugachev village in Orlov region. As he was being brought to Moscow, in handcuffs and blindfolded, the operatives put the automatic cartridges in the pocket of his jacket, and sewed the pistol in the lining, after which in Moscow his arrest with weapons and explosives was staged. The court refused to consider Sokolov's version and to call the numerous witnesses from the village of Pugachev, who could have corroborated the truth of his words. Meanwhile, the fact that Sokolov was detained precisely in Orlov region, and not in Moscow, has been repeatedly reported in the press. The investigators, moreover, gave journalists mutually contradictory accounts of the pistol that was “found” on Sokolov, on the number of cartridges, and on the quantity of explosives “found” in his apartment.

The real reason for the conviction of Sokolov, who was arrested in the "Case of the NRA", (and for the separation of his from the general case), was that he refused to give investigators incriminating evidence against others arrested in the case. One can see how the investigation construes the "case of NRA" from a number of interviews given by the investigators to journalists, as well as from the "account of illegal revolutionary activity" attributed to Sokolov and published in the newspaper of Gubkin, an agent and provocateur of the Federal Security Service (FSB). The FSB would like to convince everyone, that the NRA is an immense underground ultra-left organization, which covered all of Russia with its net, consisting of up to 500 fighters (!) and which stockpiled a mass of weapons and explosives. The investigators apparently hoped that Sokolov, under threat of conviction on falsified criminal charges, would cooperate with the authorities and appear at the trial of the NRA as a witness for the prosecution. Sokolov refused to do this. "I am an honorable man, I am a communist and a revolutionary", Sokolov said at trial. This is why he was punished.

Who is Sokolov? A young man, who has tasted the "joys" of capitalism, without the opportunity of higher education, despite his abilities, and obliged to work as a baker in a private bakery for 12-16 hours in a day, latched on to the Komsomol and was convicted in January 1999 by the Moscow City Court for blowing up the memorial plaque to the bloody family of the Tsar Nicholas II at the Vagankov graveyard. Then in a secret court session the actions of Sokolov where classified as "terrorism" and he was sentenced to 4 years of imprisonment. However, on consideration of his appeal to the High Court, the stamp of secrecy was removed from the "Case of Sokolov", after which the prosecutor himself dropped the charge of terrorism. Sokolov was released from custody in the courtroom. Interestingly, the FSB might easily have prevented the blowing up the plaque at the Vagankov graveyard, as the naive Sokolov told all the details of his "operation" by telephone in conversation with his Komsomol friend B. Tabolin. The FSB monitored the telephones of both. Since the FSB did not prevent this act, they clearly had an interest in it.

Since then, his wife Tatyana was arrested in the "Case of NRA" as well, and Sokolov himself was subjected to a 10 day detention by the agents of the section on the struggle with terrorism of the Main Administration for Internal Affairs. In the course of this 10 day confinement Sokolov was subjected to continuous beating and torture. The authorities demanded that he give incriminating evidence against those arrested in the "Case of the NRA". His apartment was searched 13 times (it's difficult to imagine that one might prepare explosives in the apartment under such circumstances). After this, Sokolov went to Orlov region, hoping to escape further troubles with FSB. He underestimated the baseness and deviousness of the punitive organs of the bourgeois state.

It must be that the investigators hoped that once he was in prison, and got to taste there the "charms of that place", Sokolov would "reconsider" - and would give incriminating evidence in the "Case of the NRA", that he would slander his arrested comrades.

All of this is clear evidence that it is absurd to count on fairness and justice in the bourgeois state. The FSB itself destroys the illusion of the possibility of "a peaceful road to socialism," and with its own hands cultivates those who tomorrow will prosecute FSB torturers and put them before the firing squad.

Demand the release of the Komsomolets Andrei Sokolov, sentenced on falsified evidence!

Demand the official introduction in Russia of the status of political prisoner to all levels of punishment appropriate to political prisoners!

Send protests against reprisals on Sokolov to the president, Prime Minister, General Prosecutor, Chief of the High Court and to International Organizations!

Address for letters and faxes of protest:

Prosecutor of the City of Moscow
113184 Moskow,
Ul. Novokuznetskaya, d. 23, korpus A

General Prosecutor of the Russian Federation
103793 GCP Moscow, K-9
Ul. Bolshaya Dmitrovka, d. 15a
Fax: (095) 292 88 48; 292 85 62

President of Russian Federation V. Putin

High Court of the Russian Federation
103289, Moscow

Ul. Ilinka, 7/3

Appeals Colleagiate:
Council of Judges:

Please send copies of your letters to

We appeal to you to support the political prisoners with your letters. Letters in prison are worth more than bread! You can (and should) write to:

Alexandr Biryukov, 103055, Moscow, Ul. Novoslobokskaya, 45, IZ 48/2
Larisa Romanova, 109388, Moscow, Ul. Shosseinaya, 92, IZ 48/6
Nadezhda Rax, 109388, Moscow, Ul. Shosseinaya, 92, IZ 48/6
Tatiana Nekhorosheva, 109388, Moscow, Ul. Shosseinaya, 92, IZ 48/6
Dimitri Buchenkov (for Ilya Romanov) 603104, Nizhny Novgorod, a/ya 25

Translateb by Mark Harris