In August 2021, the Moscow Institute of Law and Public Policy published an analytical report by Nikolai Bobrinsky and Stanislav Dmitrievsky “Between revenge and oblivion: a concept of transitional justice for Russia”. The authors positioned the work as “a report in the genre of legal futurism on how in the future to overcome the impunity of crimes of the past and present”.
Among other things, the document analyzes the consequences of the Russian aggression in Ukraine, including the attempt to annex Crimea. The authors acknowledge that the international crimes previously committed by the Russian authorities in Chechnya are “to some extent relevant” for the situation with the armed conflict in Ukraine, since “here the number of victims is also calculated in very significant numbers, and the practice of enforced disappearances, although not so horrific in number missing is also present”.
The report states that compensation for damage to persons who suffered as a result of Russia’s illegal seizure of the Crimean Peninsula is a “global problem associated with the Ukrainian conflict”. The authors believe that “any compensation programs for victims, as well as groups of victims (for example, the Crimean Tatar People) will not achieve their results until restitution is carried out, that is, the restoration of the original situation of the victims”, and that, at the same time, “such restitution is unlikely is it possible without international legal regulation of the status of the illegally seized territory”.
To resolve the consequences of the situation of massive crimes committed in Russia against its own population and against the peoples of neighboring states, the authors propose a revision of the concept of limitation periods, otherwise “most of the numerous examples of crimes” “will remain outside the reach of criminal justice,” which will mean “benefits derived from unpunished criminal activity, such as political and economic influence”. Among other things, the authors qualify in the report Russia’s acts in Ukraine since 2014 as an international crime of aggression.
The authors of the report also propose to create a Commission to Investigate the Usurpation of Power as an extrajudicial body, which “may be entrusted with the task of studying and disclosing to the public the methods of unlawful appropriation and retention of state power”, “as well as preparing recommendations to guarantee the non-repetition of usurpation”. The report also proposes unconditional rehabilitation of victims from the application to them of articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation concerning “extremism” as victims of exclusively politically motivated criminal prosecutions, as well as “rehabilitation of victims of anti-constitutional administrative repressions” which will need to be carried out “in an organized manner”.
It should be noted that Nikolai Bobrinsky is a scientist and a member of the Council of Deputies of the Ramenki municipal district, closely associated with the Russia’s “Parnas” party, and Stanislav Dmitrievsky is a human rights activist from Nizhny Novgorod who has been previously convicted by the Russian authorities “for extremism”, who has been researching for many years the crimes of the Russian authorities in the North Caucasus.