Senior Russian Senator Narusova Splits with the Russian Interior Ministry and Calls for Prosecution of Law Enforcement Officials in the Magnitsky Case

February 26, 2012

In an unexpected development, at the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Vienna last week, Ludmila Narusova, widow of former St. Petersburg mayor Anatoly Sobchak and a senior Federation Council member from the Bryansk region, publicly called for the prosecution of Russian law enforcement officials named by President Medvedev’s Human Rights Council as complicit in the false arrest and murder of Sergei Magnitsky.

“Human rights activists are calling for the expansion of the list of those who are being prosecuted in the Magnitsky case. With our support, they are urging for the charges to be brought against law enforcement officers, and doctor Alexandra Gaus who saw Magnitsky last… It is important for us so that punishment is inevitable,” said Ms Narusova.

Ms Narusova’s call for law enforcement prosecutions is in direct conflict with the position of the Russian authorities who publicly exonerated all Russian law enforcement officials involved in the Magnitsky case and then rewarded them with promotions and medals instead. Last year the Russian General Prosecutor’s Office formally absolved all Interior Ministry officers from any wrongdoing in the Magnitsky case. In addition, last July, Russian Interior Ministry’s General Tatiana Gerasimova formally dismissed the conclusions of the Russian President’s Human Rights Council on the Magnitsky case stating that Russian courts and prosecutors found no violations of the law. The Russian Investigative Committee also refused to investigate the sudden enrichment of the law enforcement officials’ families after they participated in the $230 million theft exposed by Mr Magnitsky.

“This public statement by Narusova shows a crack in the Russian government’s cover up of the torture and murder of Sergei Magnitsky in state custody,” said a Hermitage Capital representative.

“There is no longer a unified position among all Russian public bodies that all officials are innocent. While Ms Narusova had a number of facts wrong in her speech, we are pleased that she is calling for prosecutions of law enforcement officers,” said a Hermitage Capital representative.

In the aftermath of Sergei Magnitsky’s death, twenty senior prison officials were fired and it was announced that all the firings were due to Magnitsky’s death. However, since then, it has become aparent that only one of the officials who was fired had any involvement in the Magnitsky case. The rest served in other functions and regions many miles away from Moscow.

After the publication of President Medvedev’s Human Rights Council report, the Russian investigative authorities formally rejected the findings and then opened the unpreceneted posthumous prosecution of Mr Magnitsky himself. The same Interior Ministry officers who falsely arrested and tortured Sergei Magnitsky, have summoned his widow and mother for questioning. Sergei Magnitsky’s mother denounced their actions as designed to suppress the family’s calls for justice.

Ms Narusova’s call for prosecutions of Interior Ministry officials follows her daughter Kseniya Sobchak’s release of a viral Youtube video mocking Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ( In the video, Kseniya Sobchak created a satire of recent Russian public figures who have been pressured to state their support for Putin. In her video, the first half shows her making statements in support of Putin. In the second half, she is shown being threatened by unknown FSB agents to make those statements. The video has been viewed more than one million times since its release on February 19th, 2012.

See the speech by Lyudmila Narusova at the General Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly morning session (at 2:32):


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