Petersburg police have come up with a new way to isolate activists on the eve of rallies.  They are declared suspects in telephone terrorism and detained for 48 hours


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Activist Yulia Karpukhina (foreground) during her detention

Paper edition published great material about how the police of St. Petersburg came up with a new method of pressure on activists: shortly before the protests, they are massively detained as suspects in criminal cases of false mining of buildings and sent to an isolation ward for 48 hours, which excludes their participation in the actions. On March 5, just a day before the all-Russian protest against the war, the St. Petersburg police detained dozens of people in this way, and the security forces acted in a similar way on the eve of the Victory Day protests. Meduza publishes a retelling of Paper material.

At eight in the morning on March 5, on the eve of the all-Russian protest against the war, the police came to search the house of the feminist activist Lele Nordik. The employees stated that Nordic was a witness in the case of telephone terrorism, took away the equipment and campaign materials from previous actions in which Nordic participated, and conducted an interrogation. After the interrogation, the security forces left, but returned after a couple of hours – the status of the activist had changed during this time, now she was involved in the case as a suspect. Nordic was taken to the department, after which delayed for 48 hours.

On the same day, the security forces came to another feminist activist, Paladda Bashurova. “I met them in shorts and a T-shirt, turned on Tchaikovsky, offered them coffee, they refused,” the girl told Paper. – The Sobrovites were sitting in the kitchen, reading literature about feminism, which they found at my place. Investigators, eshniki and others were engaged in a search: they climbed around the apartment, read letters from my exes and all that.”

The activist was also told that she was a witness and was promised to be released immediately after interrogation at the police station, but the girl did not believe it and, just in case, took everything she needed to spend the night in the detention center with her – in the end, she spent 48 hours there.

A search that morning also took place at the home of 18-year-old Tik-Tok blogger Daria Heikinen, the founder of the opposition movement.Lighthouse”, as well as from the deputy chairman of the Libertarian Party of Russia, Rina Matsapulina. They became suspects in a criminal case and were detained for 48 hours.

All the activists interviewed by Paper said that they were searched in the case of telephone terrorism – allegedly on the afternoon of March 1, someone reported a false mining of police department No. 77 in the Admiralteisky district of St. Petersburg.

At least 27 people were detained that day. They are united only by their anti-war stance.

Activists describe search warrants in different ways. Activist Lelya Nordik told Paper the number that appears in the case file – this is (812) 495-48-85-32. It has more digits than a Russian number can have, and the first six are the codes for St. Petersburg and Moscow.

According to Rina Matsapulina, in the materials of her case, there was generally information about the mining of the police department from e-mail. The activist does not remember which one, but notes that the information on the case, which the detainees were able to get acquainted with, differed from the protocol to the protocol.

According to Bumaga’s estimates, on March 5, at least 27 activists, artists, and even municipal deputies were detained in St. Petersburg. In most cases, they are not connected with each other, they are united only by the anti-war position.

On the same day, the city police reported that they had identified 40 people allegedly involved in false mining of courts, schools, shopping centers, hospitals, hotels, restaurants and other city institutions and institutions. The Ministry of Internal Affairs also announced that “on the facts of mass “mining”, criminal cases have already been initiated under article 207 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation“. About this, with reference to sources in the department, wrote another Petersburg edition is Fontanka.

Where the police got the addresses of the activists is unknown. Many of the detainees did not live according to a residence permit, had not been detained before and did not participate in anti-war actions. The activists suspect that the police were following them and could also use the Yandex.Food address database, which was stolen and later made public in mid-March.

Most of the detainees were kept in the isolation ward for 48 hours and then released as suspects on a promise to appear. Because of this, they could not get to the anti-war actions on March 6.

What happened on March 6

Detentions were also carried out before the action on May 9. Already on a new case

48 hours before the anti-war rally on May 9, which was announced by the Vesna movement, activists were again detained, now in a new case – about false mining of a branch of the RANEPA.

Thus, a femme activist, coordinator of the Eve’s Ribs project Yulia Karpukhina and her friend Dara Shchukina were detained. Viasna activist Polina Barabash and former press secretary of the movement Artem Uymanen also became suspects in the case.

As follows from the search warrant, on the afternoon of April 19, an unknown person sent a letter to the RANEPA branch, which referred to an explosive device. The text stated that its author “signed a contract with the Armed Forces of Ukraine.”

Correspondents of “Paper” tried to contact the author of the letter on which the accusation is based. They made sure that it was impossible to send a message to the address from which the letter was allegedly sent: the mail gives an error “typical for addresses blocked for spam.” But the number indicated in the case turned out to be working. Correspondents of the publication managed to contact its owner.

It turned out to be a resident of St. Petersburg born in 2002 named Artem S. (“Paper” managed to confirm his identity using the service GetContact and social media accounts. The owner of the number did not answer the question whether he really sent such a letter and whether law enforcement officers came to him. However, he was surprised by the picture from the case file with his number.

The action of “Spring” on May 9 took place – Dozens of people, including Petersburgers, took to the Immortal Regiment rally with portraits of veterans and anti-war signatures. But many activists, just like on March 6, at that time were in isolation wards within the framework of 48-hour detentions.

It is easier to use such a case than to draw up a new administrative protocol.

The lawyers of the activists, with whom Paper spoke, believe that these criminal cases are needed simply to intimidate their clients. “This is a lever of pressure,” comments Mikhail Shiolashvili, defender of Dara Shchukina. – My opinion: this will all end, and the case will be lost in the corridors of the investigative corridors. It is clear that she did nothing, and this will be difficult to prove.

After searches and detentions, some activists decided to leave Russia, but most of the defendants in the cases remain in the country.

Bamaga’s source in law enforcement explains that detaining activists as suspects in any criminal case is easier than opening new administrative proceedings against them. “You can simply ask someone to write a complaint with an accusation. Under current political conditions, this will be sufficient evidence for a 48-hour detention so that activists can miss the rally, ”explains the source of the publication.

Protest in Russia banned


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