“Russia Is Not the Aggressor”: The Open Letter of 85-Year-Old Ukrainian Political Prisoner, World War II Survivor Mekhti Logunov

85-year-old Kharkov scientist Mekhti Logunov was sentenced to 12 years behind bars…

“Stoletie.ru” follows the course of the judicial massacre of the Kharkov resident Mekhti Feofanovich Logunov. On November 18th the Regional Court of Appeal in Kharkov upheld the sentence of the Court of First Instance – 12 years of imprisonment. For three years, a political prisoner has been languishing in a pre-trial detention center while Ukrainian “justice” evaded from making a decision on the “treason” case of the “Russian spy”.

If someone had illusions that the regime of Zelensky differs from the regime of Poroshenko, the sentence of 85-year-old Kharkov scientist became yet more confirmation of the futility and groundlessness of such hopes.

Commenting on this decision of the Court of Appeal, former Prime Minister of Ukraine Nikolay Azarov said that greater cynicism and cruelty are difficult to imagine. According to him, “Mekhti Logunov, an 85-year-old political prisoner, scientist, inventor, and candidate of technical sciences was sentenced by the judicial system of Ukraine to death in prison.”

And the most vile thing in this situation, Azarov stressed, is that “politicians, ‘oppositionists’, ‘human rights defenders’, and Western curators remain silent.”

“The Court of First Instance in the summer of 2018 unquestionably fulfilled a political order, accepting on faith the absurd charge fabricated by the SBU. But no one was in a hurry to consider the appeal: waiting for a change of government, a prisoner exchange, new directives…” writes the political scientist from Kharkov Artem Klimenko. “It appeared that the court of appeal, understanding how shameful this case about treason is, does not want to stain its reputation, so the process is prolonged to the obscene… But apparently today’s government has already matched its predecessors in moral ugliness at this stage. That’s why the judges have to comply. The Court of Appeal showed that those faithfully fulfilling the wishes of the authorities are the same bastards as those who pronounced the sentence of Mekhti Logunov in the court of first instance.”

He also gives the testimony of the deputy of the Kharkov City Council Andrey Lesik concerning what happened on November 18th in the Kharkov Regional Court of Appeal: “No one was allowed into the courtroom. Moreover, when Grandpa Mekhti was to be brought in, everyone present was taken more than 50-70 meters around the corner so that he would not be seen. This happened even before the court decided to hold a closed hearing. It’s nonsense. In fact, it was predetermined in advance that the case would be heard behind closed doors. The judges initially looked scared and lost.

I know how appeals work. I remember when my case as a deputy was decided, over four days, 3 hours a day, all the details of the case were heard. And here how could such an absurd case about treason, in which there clearly was a provocation of the SBU, be heard in only an hour and forty minutes?! That’s why it was necessary to hear it behind closed doors, so that everything would be covered in darkness, so that all these falsifications would not surface in the future. Why didn’t they listen to the case for so long, almost a year and a half? Because they understood: there will be a cassation, which will cancel this lawlessness.”

According to Lesik, the judges made their decision under pressure from the President of the Court of Appeal Antonina Koltunova, who, in his opinion, is a link between the Prosecutor’s Office, the SBU, and the judges themselves.

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The meeting hall was filled with radicals with posters “Jail for Mekhti!” and “Separatists behind bars!.” Knives, pistols, and brass knuckles were seized from some at the entrance, as Lesik warned law enforcement.

Lesik adds that at this hearing Mekhti Logunov looked much worse than in October, physically exhausted.

“I treat Grandpa Mekhti like my own grandpa,” Lesik says, “my grandfather died at 84. At that age he was taking medication, he needed peace and care. But how 80-year-old Mekhti Feofanovich survives in the conditions of a pre-trial detention center – I just don’t understand! It’s mocking an old man. It is also a mockery of all of us, of those people whom Zelensky made his campaign promises to. I now understood what jailings Vladimir Aleksandrovich was talking about.”

The media reported that M. Logunov managed to transfer from the cells of the Ukrainian regime a written by hand, 8-page appeal to the leaders of the “Normandy Four”, a photocopy of which was published on November 22nd on the LiveJournal page of the head of the “South-East” movement Yury Apukhtin, who himself was released not so long ago within the framework of a prisoner exchange after more than three years of imprisonment.

Mekhti Logunov denounces the authorities of Ukraine in the system of arbitrariness and lawlessness established in the country and demands punishment for the perpetrators. He does not consider the sentence to be fair and in the appeal claims that he is condemned “on the basis of a false, fabricated by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) charge… Effectively to life imprisonment”. Alas, both the old age and the state of health of the political prisoner allow to assert this.

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Mekhti Feofanovich briefly describes himself as a certified mechanical engineer in the specialty “Construction and road machinery and equipment”, as well as “Cars and tractors” and a candidate of technical sciences, with a production experience of more than 66 years, and scientific experience of more than 55 years. “I have worked honestly all my long life, I have no tarnished reputation either in the USSR or in Europe.”

He also states that from the age of three he was an orphan: in 1937 his father was shot on false charges of preparing an assassination attempt on Stalin, and his mother was sent to a camp for 7 years. “But I did not become an enemy of my Motherland of the USSR, I honestly worked all my life,” writes Logunov. According to him, due to the fight against embezzlement and bribery, he was forced to resign from his job several times during the years of Soviet power, and due to human rights activities (which he had been engaged in since 1962) he was interrogated by KGB officers. “But they haven’t been jailed for a single day! A very different picture occurred in democratic Ukraine, which everywhere declares and proclaims commitment to the European path of development… But in fact there is the exact opposite.”

The prisoner concludes: “This is a country of lawlessness, abuse of people, especially prisoners. Many convicts are charged on untrue, fabricated, false charges. A large number of detainees are imprisoned along with torture from beatings and from being forced to confess, and then they are refused a trial…”

Mekhti Logunov also recalls how President Zelensky said at an investment forum in Mariupol that the corrupt Ukrainian courts scare European investors away. The political prisoner adds:… “The judges of the Kharkov Court of Appeal (Antonina Koltunova, Aleksandr Kurilo, Vladimir Protasov, Nikolay Savenko) … forgot what the presumption of innocence is. All my and my lawyers’ arguments are rejected. Any lie, falsification fabricated by the SBU is accepted unconditionally. And that’s not surprising! I am in strict isolation, both informationally and physically speaking.”

The only information Grandpa Mekhti receives comes from “Ukrainian TV”, where “the whole airwaves are filled with hatred for Russia”, which is called the “aggressor country”. The scientist says that he saw with his own eyes the real aggression – Hitler, he saw the bombing. He recalls in his letter how he as a 7-year-old boy saw what an actually real aggressor was – fascist Germany, which attacked the USSR. At the same time, it was assisted by countries such as Italy, Hungary, Romania, parts of France, and the rest of Europe. “And now a rampaging Ukraine is howls, yells, squeal ‘Russia intends to occupy Europe’. But I saw the aggressor with my own eyes!” says Logunov.

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And he recalls being evacuated by train with his family at the end of September 1941. At that point he first saw German planes shooting that train and he was wounded. A little later in the evacuation, while in Dzerzhinsk, he observed the Luftwaffe aircraft bombing the city and military factories every night.

“I came out of a gap in the bomb shelter, I looked into the sky – planes couldn’t be seen, but the bombs fell constantly. I know what military aviation is in action, I saw it all with my own eyes, as I saw the destroyed cities of Lugansk, Kharkov, Voronezh. But I did not see on any channel of Ukrainian TV neither Kiev, nor Zhytomyr, nor Odessa, nor Lvov being bombed by Russian aircraft. Like how I did not see Russian tanks on the streets of Ukrainian cities. But I saw what remained of the villages of Donbass,” writes M. Logunov. “This is the fifth President of Ukraine yelling from TV screens to the children of Donbass: ‘You will sit in basements, you will not go to school, you will starve’. I can testify what this actually feels like. Goebbelsoid, the vampire, still can’t quench his thirst for the blood of the people of Donbass. Now Poroshenko with his ‘European Solidarity’ party has poured into Parliament, they all hope to drag Europe into a war against Russia.”

Logunov addresses President Zelensky: “It seems that not you, Vladimir Aleksandrovich, have been elected president, but that Poroshenko has received a second reign.”

The author of the appeal draws the attention of readers to the fact that WW2 lasted 1418 days, while the current Donbass “pseudo-war and aggression has lasted for at least 1794 days”.

Addressing in his message the leaders of Germany and France, the political prisoner notes that it is possible to really help Ukraine not with investments, which will still be stolen, but with real sanctions against “embezzlers, judges, prosecutors… ministers”, and especially against “murderers in Odessa” and in other cities. As the same A. Klimenko emphasises, the author of the appeal at the same time quite acutely “bites” not only Merkel, but also Macron. Mekhti Feofanovich unostentatiously reminds the latter about the participation of the French SS “Charlemagne” division in the aggression against his Motherland – the USSR.

Will Europe respond to the appeal of its oldest political prisoner?

Mikhail Slobodskoy

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