, a naval officer who cooperated with a Norwegian environmental organization to expose the careless handling of nuclear waste by Russia’s Northern Fleet. Nikitin, originally charged in 1996 with transmitting state secrets to foreigners, was acquitted last year by a court in St. Petersburg. Putin, whose devotion to the presumption of innocence has definite limits, declared Nikitin guilty, and prosecutors appealed. The Supreme Court’s decision is a defeat for the security services that pressed this prosecution and a victory for judicial independence.