On May 4, 2017, the Moscow City Court rejected the complaint by Aleksandr Khinstein, Adviser to Army General Viktor Zolotov, Director of the Rosguards (the Russian security army that reports directly to President Vladimir Putin), and a publicist, to the decision of Presnensky Regional Court of Moscow on the case of the memoir by the former KGB Chairman Ivan Serov.
In October 2016, the Serov’s, Vera, and Khinstein filed a lawsuit against the Moscow historian Boris Sokolov, claiming they wanted to proteect the honor and dignity of General Serov. Sokolov had expressed doubts about the authenticity of Serov’s memoir Ivan Serov. Notes from a Suitcase, edited by Khinstein. In Sokolov’s opinion, the memoir showed signs of having been written and/or edited after Serov’s death. According to the historian, the publication’s purpose was to whitewash the image of the brutal first KGB Chairman.
Daria Sukhikh, Sokolov’s lawyer and a member of the St. Petersburg’s legal group Team29, commented on the new court decision: “The Moscow City Court upheld the decision of the Presnensky Regional Court, which in December 2016 concluded that historian Sokolov’s statements did not discredit the honor and dignity of Serov.” She also noted that the defense presented the conclusion of expert linguists in the court. “And the opposite party did not apply for an expert examination, and their position was not supported,” Ms. Sukhikh added.
It remains unclear if this is the historian Sokolov’s final victory or Khinstein and Vera Serova plan to appeal to the higher court.