Anatoly Scharansky, wearing a civilian shirt and trousers, sits in a large defendant's box, with two KGB men on either side and one behind. He must stand to address the court.The KGB men stand as well, and sit when he sits.
Presiding Judge P. Lukanov, of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, sits behind a large formal bench, beneath the Soviet national seal. To his sides and slowly lower sit the two "people's assesors," who constitute the jury: required L. Petrov, decribed in the official court statements as "a scientific worker at the Institute of Metalurgy," and G. Samsonov, "a pediagogue."
The judge, as in the French judicial system, takes a very active role, questioning witnesses or Scharansky. In the past day and a half, Lukanov has interjected himself forcefully, according to Scharansky's brother, Leonid, who has attended two and a half days of the four days of the trial. The judge judge now interrupts Scharansky frequently, blunting his attempts at defense.
Leonid, 32, a machine tool designer, is forced to sit well back in the audience between two KGB men. On Monday, he was moved to the back row after standing up and telling his brother, "mother's outside." He was excluded from the trial all day Tuesday and Wednesday morning, on secrecy grounds. The only source of information independent from the official court statements, Leonid is not allowed to take notes.
Scharansky's mother, Ida Milgrom, has spent four days inthe street outside the courthouse, never far from the entrance the police barricades.
The court has called her as a prosecution witness against her son and she has so far refused to go. Both actions are virtually unheard of in Anglo-Saxon law, in which a mother is normally priviliged from testifying against her children and a witness must come to court if called.
The ordeal for Mrs. Migrom has been severe and she has lost her composure several times, weeping after being barred from the court.
Spending hours on a Soviet street, even under such circumstances, offers glimpses of everyday life which emphasize the undercurrents present in the seventh decade of Soviet power.
Once, a trailer truck emerging from the gates of a nearby factory snorted past, a photo of the middle-aged Stalin taped to the windshield. People rushed to look and photograph this eerie chance of meeting of today and yesterday. When the truck returned some minutes later, the photo was gone.
Another time, a woman plunged into the crowd of Jews and dissidents standing before the police barricades and then emerged in confusion. "I thought they had something to sell," she said in bewilderment and wandered back up the street.