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Political writers’ case: “Experts” trying to conceal ignorance

Photo: Kristina Melnikova/EADaily

The trial against three pro-Russian political writers Yuri Pavlovets, Sergey Shiptenko and Dmitry Alimkin continues in Minsk. This week, two Belarusian state experts Alesya Andreyeva and Alla Kirdun were interrogated. The experts earlier prepared an opinion claiming that articles published by the political writers contained “signs of extremism” and the authors can be jailed for up to 12 years for that. In an interview with EADaily, historian Alexander Gronsky, who earlier testified in the court, addresses the proficiency of the experts and feasibility of their comments.

Unfortunately, I could not arrive in Minsk in time and did not hear all the experts speaking at the court. So, I will express my opinion concerning the last two experts (Andreyeva and Kirdun – EADaily’s note). The first thing that I have noticed is that the experts tried to avoid direct answers to questions. Every time they were driven to a corner by direct questions, they said they were not competent to answer them. So, they answered most of the question indirectly or did not answer at all. In some cases, the judge did not allow the question to be clarified and suggested the defense and the defendants to proceed to the following questions. I am sure for 100% that the experts could not answer such questions in principle. This confidence comes out, as they say, “through logical and semantic consequence.” If they can draw strange conclusions from the texts they do not understand, I think, everyone can use that method.

Second, they are absolutely incapable for understanding the texts they have processed. Speaking of expert evaluation of a political or popular science text, for instance, on biology, one should be proficient in biology. To make expert evaluation of a historical or political science material, one should be proficient in history and political science. Meantime, both the experts showed that they have no knowledge of the matter. To evaluate whether a specific term contains any malicious intent, one should know what that term means. Both the experts showed apparent unfamiliarity with the terms they sought “extremism” in. What makes ethnos different from nation, what does a historical myth mean, and many other questions asked by lawyers and defendants remained unanswered. The experts simply do not have the necessary knowledge to understand the essence of the texts they have analyzed.

Trying to somehow avoid questions, the experts said their conclusions were received through “logical and semantic consequence” and it was “expert deduction.” After listening to the speeches of experts, I have got an impression that they used these scientific wordings to conceal their ignorance.

Unlike the experts who proved unable to look through the books which, for instance, Yuri Pavlovets referred to in his articles, I searched the phrase “logical-semantic consequence” in the web (the experts used that phrase too many times). Eventually, I found quite an interesting quote: “Although scientists have been stressing the need for consideration of logical-semantic events in context for a long time already, most of them still use definitions presupposition and logical-semantic consequence that are no longer relevant and do not meet present-day requirements.” Actually, definition logical-semantic consequence is no longer applicable and does not meet present-day requirements. I am not a linguist, but this put me on alert. Unlike the experts who will hardly risk digging too much into history and political science, I am going to find out what is wrong with that “logical-semantic consequence.”

It is really frustrating that one of the experts ascribed wrong words to one of the authors. When pointed at that fact, she said: “What of it?” The author is facing 12 years in prison for that “what of it?” This shows not just professional incompetence of the expert, but also her moral qualities. Making extremism allegations against a person for what he did not do is frustrating. I do not want to comment it.

In some cases, the experts showed not just “background knowledge” but lack of any knowledge as such. The expert, candidate of science was guessing about the date of “perestroika.” No one expected them to have such poor knowledge of the recent past events. And they are still sure that they can understand the essence of the text with such poor knowledge of history!

As a researcher of historical falsifications and historical myths, I can explain such poor state of the expert opinion. Its authors live within the frames of a historical myth where they feel comfortable. Real facts brought in articles of the political writers run contrary to the mythological picture of the world they live in. They fight for their comfort, so objective reality seems dangerous for them.

The experts cannot comprehend that they live within historical myth, because to see what color is the building, one needs to do out and look at it from outside (or at least look out of the window). To learn what is historical myth, one should be able to get out of it (or at least see that it is possible). Belarusian history may be thousands-years-old only as part of a historical myth. A thousand years ago, the Slavs settled in the current territory of Belarus, and ten thousand years ago, there was transition from Paleolithic to Mesolithic era. That is, Middle Stone Age replaced Early Stone Age. Here I’d like to refer to researches of Ukrainian great minds who find ancient Ukrainians approximately in the same era. Actually, experts have pseudo-scientific knowledge of history and analyze texts dedicated to real history. So, the experts should not worry that in their articles the defendants warned against Ukrainization of Belarus. Ukrainization has already started in the speeches of the experts saying that history of Belarus is ten thousand-year-old (one of the experts noted that history of Belarus may be 10-thousand-year-old - EADaily’s note). To feel the depth of Ukraine’s “long history” (the term was invented by experts), read the screeds of Ukrainian political analyst Valery Bebik.

The lawyers and defendants commenting the statements of experts have repeatedly pointed at their ignorance. As a scientist, I fully share that viewpoint. It is not a result of “logical-semantic consequence.” It is an objective viewpoint.

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