2019-12-25 16:16:00

Cassation court posthumously acquits Orthodox dissident Shchipkova 40 years after sentencing

Moscow, December 25, Interfax - The second cassation court of general jurisdiction has reversed the 1980 sentence in the criminal case against Soviet Orthodox dissident Tatyana Shhchipkova and recognized her right to rehabilitation.

Revision of the case was initiated by the Russian Prosecutor General's Office. It filed a cassation appeal, seeking a reversal of Shhchipkova's sentence, the closure of the criminal case, and recognition of her right to rehabilitation.

Shhchipkova, a philologist with a PhD and a faculty member at the Smolensk Pedagogical Institution, was fired from the institute and sentenced by the Moscow Leninsky District Court to three years in prison for hooliganism on January 8, 1980. Shhchipkova, who turned 50 a month after the hearing, served her sentence in a penal colony in the Primorye Territory.

"The true reason for the repression against Shhchipkova was her faith and religious beliefs. Shhchipkova told her students in Latin classes about ancient culture and Christianity. Her stories about Christianity and Christ differed from official ideology; she brought a Bible to class and read verses from it," the synodal department of the Russian Orthodox Church said.

Shhchipkova described her prison experience in her memoires, which were published in 2011.

"She gave a totally new interpretation of the Soviet repression that she experienced. Differing from the hatred and contempt for the Soviet period, and especially for Soviet-era repression, that was universally accepted in the post-Soviet period, Shhchipkova had a deep Christian attitude toward the people who repressed her. She did not condemn anyone. She considered the love she had for those people, colony officials and supervisors, and also ordinary inmates, to be her main prison experience," the synodal department said.

"Shhchipkova was the only Orthodox confessor who was not rehabilitated after Soviet rule. She did not deny her faith, her religious beliefs in order to avoid repression, in order to keep her social status, career, and wellbeing," the synodal department said.

Shhchipkova died on July 11, 2009.