The court, at the request of the FSB, sent Alexander Chernyshov, the former head of the Perm Center for Historical Memory, into custody. Mr. Chernyshov is accused of attempted smuggling of a part of the archive of the Perm branch of Memorial (the organization was included in the register of foreign agents, liquidated by a court decision). According to investigators, Mr. Chernyshov and the former chairman of the Perm branch, Robert Latypov, tried to take the documents to Germany. Experts believe that the archive is of historical and cultural value for the region. As it turned out in court, Mr. Chernyshov fully admitted his guilt, during the process he asked to be sent under house arrest. Mr. Latypov, who is in Germany, insists that the archive is of no value.
The Leninsky District Court granted the request of the FSB investigation to impose a preventive measure in the form of detention on the former chairman of the Perm Center for Historical Memory, Alexander Chernyshov. As follows from the petition of the FSB investigator, Mr. Chernyshov was detained on May 21 in Istra, near Moscow. There he served an administrative sentence of 15 days of arrest for allegedly swearing at Sheremetyevo Airport.
According to investigators, Mr. Chernyshov was involved in an attempt to export to Germany a part of the archive of the Perm branch of Memorial, together with the former chairman of the organization, Robert Latypov.
According to the investigation, on May 5, he intended to fly to Istanbul, and from there to one of the EU countries. The documents of the archive, according to the examination, are of historical and cultural value for the Perm Territory, their value was estimated at 380 thousand rubles. At the same time, the security forces seized the papers on March 11, so the crime could not be completed.
Alexander Chernyshov has been collaborating with Memorial since 2004, in 2013 he became a researcher of the organization, participated in search expeditions related to the history of political repressions in the north of the Kama region. Prior to the liquidation of the Perm branch of Memorial, he was a member of its board, and then headed the Perm regional charitable public organization Center for Historical Memory.
The initiation of a smuggling case became known last Friday, when the FSB and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, with the support of special forces, conducted mass searches in Perm of former Memorial activists, as well as local human rights activists, including the former commissioner for human rights in the region Tatyana Margolina. Kommersant’s interlocutors say that operatives and special forces tried to conduct a search in the cottage where Robert Latypov previously lived. Mr. Latypov sold the property last year.
Substantiating their petition, representatives of the investigation stated that Alexander Chernyshov, being at large, could hide from the investigation, put pressure on witnesses and obstruct the investigation, since not all participants in the crime were identified. The position of the FSB was supported by Vitaly Kopylov, a representative of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Perm Territory.
Aleksey Shardakov, Mr. Chernyshov’s lawyer, offered to place his client under house arrest. The lawyer noted that Aleksey Chernyshov fully admits his guilt and is ready to cooperate with the investigation.
According to the lawyer, his client does not intend to either hide from law enforcement agencies or exert pressure, since he left the post of chairman of the public organization.
“As you can see from the materials, the criminal case has been underway since March 11, the investigative actions were covered in the media,” says Mr. Chernyshov. “That is, more than two months have passed since the discovery of the crime, all interested parties are aware of the investigation.” The lawyer believes that the FSB did not provide evidence that Aleksey Chernyshov could oppose the investigation. “He cannot influence anything,” Mr. Shardakov is convinced. “Alexey Anatolyevich is an extremely modest, religious person, he has never been seen in aggressive behavior.”
Robert Latypov, who is another defendant in the case, is now in Germany. According to Kommersant’s information, the investigation may charge him in absentia, and then go to court with a petition for arrest in absentia. The presence of this judicial act will make it possible to put Mr. Latypov on the international wanted list.
Robert Latypov himself previously stated that the archive does not represent any cultural value, since it relates to office work. Part of the archive, according to him, was indeed sent from Perm, but not abroad, but to Moscow for systematization.