July 17, 2006

Russia: From St. Petersburg to Yekaterinburg activists arrested, searched, jailed...

activists arrested, searched, jailed...
From Alter-EE list

Press-release no. 6, July 11th, 2006

Contact to LINK: spb8media (at) riseup.net
LINK is not an official media representative of the SPB8 network.

Please read the notice at the end of the text.

Chronicle of repressions.

From St. Petersburg to Yekaterinburg activists are arrested, searched,
removed from trains and put into jail.

The summit of the "Big 8" planned not far from St. Petersburg is less than a week away, as well as the events against the illegitimate "club of 8" and its policies, the Russian Social Forum in particular. Judging by the unfolding situation, the Russian structures of power have decided to tackle the issue with force in the last week before the summit.

Information about arrests, court cases, imprisonments, searches and removals from trains of activists of the Network Against G8 (SPB8)have become everyday occurrence. In the course of those actions, the agents of power structures ? the Ministry of Internal Affairs and it's subdivision the FSB and the Prosecutor's Office are continuously breaking both civil rights and legal norms. The courts pronounce harsh sentences based solely on the testimonies of the security forces and meant to isolate the activists until the end of the summit.

Based on the news available to the members of the LINK collective and published on Russian Indymedia (russia.indymedia.org/ ), only on Monday such cases have occurred in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Samara and Yekaterinburg.


St. Petersburg: "Bad apartment" and the case of gas masks.

This story ? as if taken straight out of a detective novel ? occurred on July 9-10th in St. Petersburg. Sunday night July 9th, in the northern part of the city two German activists who arrived in the city with the bicycle caravan were arrested on the street to "check their IDs". (Read more about the caravan here: ru.indymedia.org/newswire/display/15042/index.php). The German activists have shown passports at once, but they were nonetheless taken to the police station, together with Lyosha from Tyumen who came out to meet them wearing only his slippers.

The whole night and the whole day all three were held at the 36th precinct of police on Yesenin 2 street (ru.indymedia.org/newswire/display/15072/index.php). In the evening they were driven to the court. Since the court couldn't find any other charge with a semblance of truth, they were charged with pissing in front of the front door of the house. The court session on which representatives of the German consulate in St. Petersburg were present as well as members of the public was adjourned and moved to another building (Yesenina 7 street) and scheduled for 10 AM on July 11th. In the meantime, the Russian citizen felt bad and was transported to the hospital on Vavilova 13 street.

Until the arrested were still at the 36th precinct of the police. On July 10th, two Russian anarchists living in the same flat where the German citizens tried to go and from which the Russian activist went out in his slippers (and, as can be guessed, slippers have no pocket that can hold a passport) went out to meet them. As a result, they were taken themselves to the police station for "improper language". The court sentenced them to 10 days of arrest. After 10 days, the summit of the G8 will have passed.

After these arrests, the apartment from which all the arrested came was marked as "bad" by Petersburg special services. Another activist of the anarchist movement was taken by the police in unclear circumstances that are not known so far. At some point she sent an SMS message from the 57th precinct of the police which arrived at 9:07 PM
July 10th which read: "they are taking me to court, art. 280". Article 280 of the Criminal Code is "Public call for extremist activity".

That a court session could proceed so fast on a Criminal Code article is unheard of. The lawyer of the arrested anarchist will take on the case on the morning of July 11th.

Aside from these cases, on the July 10th two anarchists from St. Petersburg were sentenced for 10 days in prison for what was called "minor hooliganism". What did this act of "hooliganism" consist of?

Was it because the activists tried to buy gas masks on a market on the Fermska Shossa and were arrested on July 8th by agents of the OMON? Or was it because they had in their possession "antiglobalist" leaflets and seven leaflets with practical advice written by the Petersburg League of Anarchists on how to behave when arrested by the police, and advice on the use of chemical equipment? However the sentence of 10 days in prison is quite easy to understand: it means that in the following 10 days the authorities in Petersburg do not want to see people interested in politics and in demonstrations on the streets of the city.


Moscow: The police are posing as "neighbours downstairs".

In Moscow on July 10 the local police and police from the Organised Crime Department have visited an apartment the tenant of which has been keeping in touch with the activists of the Youth Human Right Movement (MPD). Out-of-town activists were temporarily staying there as they passed through Moscow.

Around 1 p.m. somebody rang the bell of Anton Pominov's apartment saying that his downstairs neighbours are flooded. After the doors were opened, the "neighbours" turned out to be plainclothes police officers and a lieutenant from the Organised Crime Department of the Central Administrative Disctrict of Moscow. Without offering any sort of warrant they have entered the apartment, interrogated Mr. Pominov and looked at the contents of their notebook computer. The questions mostly concerned the MPD activists Nataliya Zvyagina and Irina Aksyonova. Then the police has escorted Anton Pominov and his notebook for a talk with the Central Administrative District investigator D. A. Korobkov.

He has been asking Mr. Pominov about the circumstances of his acquaintance with Ms. Zvyagina and Ms. Aksyonova, their relationship, the information about them, their current whereabouts and plans. He was made to "promise" that he doesn't intend to go to St. Petersburg in the run-up or during the G8 summit. For his part, the investigator informed him that the action was taken to fulfill the inquiry from The Federal Security Service (FSB) to "work through" the activists twhose names and addresses were provided by the FSB.

The actions of the authorities in this case are an obvious violation of the law - or are simply outside of the law field.


Samara: Criminal case reanimated.

In Samara July 10 has kicked off with a search. At 9 a.m. the apartments of Daniil Vanchayev, Dmitriy Doroshenko, Rita Kavtorina, Dmitriy Treschanin, Georgiy Kvantrishvili, Yelena Kuznetsova and Mikhail Gangan were broken into by the groups of officers from FSB and District Organised Crime Department (RUBOP) who have presented the search warrants. They undertook the search, confiscating the computers' system blocks, data equipment and literature.

Besides that those searched were served with summons for July 14 to appear at Oktyabrskiy district Prosecutor's office to meet senior investigator
R. S. Cheleshev.

All seven activists are connected with the antimilitarist action that took place in Samara on February 23, 2006. During a theatre action people wearing masks of "Minister of Defense" and "Commander in Chief" were sawing conscript's legs off. Following the action the Prosecutor's office has started a criminal case accusing them of "lack of respect (according to other sources - insulting) the President". It was soon thereafter closed for lack of the facts of the crime.

As the activists found out at 9 a.m. on July 10, the case was recently reopened under the pressure from the FSB. It's again based on the article 319 in Russian Federation's Criminal code; the case number is 200611677.

It is obvious that the current actions of the authorities are connected with the G8 summit. Many activists (who include anarchists, National Bolshevik Party (NBP) members and people non involved in any organisations) were going to go to St. Petersburg in the next few days. as they have been served with summons for interrogation, they have to cancel the plans.

Potentially useful phone numbers:

R. S. Cheleshev, Senior investigator for Samara' Oktyabrskiy district
prosecutor's office 007(846) 334-85-51

Irina Anatoliyevna Skupova,Human rights representative for Samara region:
Phone 007(846) 332-82-87, fax 007 (846) 333-03-80 skupova (at) mail.ru


Yekaterinburg: Detention of the trade union activists

Six people who travelled from Omsk to St. Petersburg to take part in the Russian Social Forum were put off the train in Yekaterinburg on the night of July 10. Four of them are activists of the Siberian Labour Confederation (SKT), among them well-known figure in Russia's trade union and protestmovement Vasiliy Starostin and his 16 years old son Yegor Starostin.

Two more people belong to other organisations.

The operation was performed by two railroad policemen and some plainclothes people. The activists were informed that their luggage might contain forbidden or dangerous items. After they were screamed at and violently pushed out of the carriage they were taken to the train station police station. During the last phone conversation with them the activists expressed fear the the police might plant something in their baggage.

The communication with them broke after 12 a.m. (Moscow time) and could not be recommenced throughout the night. Two hours later it has become evident that they were not only put off the train but also detained. They are still held at the railroad police station at the Yekaterinburg train station. The police do not deny the fact that the activists were put off the train but do not provide any further information. The phone number of the police station is 007 (343) 358-2018

Vasiliy Starostin has previously participated in Russian (Moscow, 2005) and European Social Forums (Florence, 2002, Paris, 2003), in numerous international trade union conferences. In the Spring of 2006 the Omsk office of the SKT he helped found has suddenly burned down. The fire brigade has arrived quickly but didn't start to put out the fire for quite some time.

According to the latest information which was received at 8:30 a.m. (Moscow time) the Omsk activists were detained for "extremist statements that they made on the train" and that the FSB is now dealing with them.


There are already dozens of such cases. The pressure is put on the activists of most different organisations, most importantly grassroots initiatives.

Everything indicates that the authorities have put their bet on power and fear, completely disregarding even formal human rights and freedoms and following the law. Such a tactic is very reflective of the G8 policies in general: limiting and enforcing the rules, outrageous ise of force and total lawlessness. A good picture of not only the current operation by the Russian authorities but the G8 in general.

We call on the journalists not to ignore the information about people who were repressed simply because they dared to have an opinion of their own. We call on the activists from various regions and countries to support those who are under pressure now. Help the activists in your region if you are in Russia. Write, send fax messages, protest outside Russian embassies and consulates if you are abroad. Russian activists need support and solidarity.

Additional info: http://int.ru.indymedia.org/


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