Military journalist Grigory Pasko convicted of espionage thanks the Russian president for his readiness to consider the question of pardoning him but says he is going to secure a full acquittal, said his lawyer Anatoly Pyshkin who handed over Pasko's statement. On December 25th, the military court of the Russian Pacific fleet accused military journalist Pasko of espionage, sentenced him to four years of imprisonment in a strict regime colony and deprived him of the military rank and awards. Vladimir Putin, speaking at a press conference in Paris on January 15th, stated that the case of Grigory Pasko is purely juridical and he is not going to participate in discussing the court's judgement. Putin also pointed out that Pasko was accused of handing over secret documents to foreign citizens for remuneration. The president stressed that this had been proved, and nobody, even Pasko's lawyers, doubted it. At the same time Vladimir Putin declared that if Pasko asked for pardoning him, he would be ready to consider his request.
As November 4 approaches (on this day, Russia and Belarus are to sign union programs), disputes between supporters and opponents of the integration become increasingly heated