26 June 2021
by Maria Eismont, lawyer
JUDGE: All right, then, Liudmila Petrovna, stand up. Is the police record correctly stated? 22 June, 12:30, Afansievsky Lane, officers asked you to show your papers, you refused. . . .
LIUSYA SHTEIN: They did not ask. I came out of my building, three police officers approached me from behind, stopped me, and said: “Young woman, we’re going to the police van”—not to show my papers. If you would familiarize yourself with the video recordings from either the officer’s body cam or from the surveillance camera, you would see, first of all, that they did not ask me for my papers, and secondly, I did not resist.
JUDGE: You mean, basically out of the blue . . .
LIUSYA SHTEIN: Exactly so.
JUDGE: Well, we have present there, I believe, the militia officer (she says just that, “militia”) who detained you.
LIUSYA SHTEIN: And she told me immediately that she would tell me what was written in the report.
JUDGE: What’s all this . . . We are on cross-examination. You can invite the officer and we will question the militia officer right now. Come to the stand and state your last name, first name, and patronymic.
(She is young, wearing civilian clothes. She has pretty long hair, pretty eyes, and a pretty name. She looks at the judge, but when we ask questions from the defence bench, she turns around, defiantly even.)
ME: Did you have body cams with you?
YOUNG POLICEWOMAN: We did.
ME: Were they turned on?
YOUNG POLICEWOMAN: My superior’s may have been turned on.
ME: What does that mean, “may”? You’re on patrol. You never know, you’re supposed to record what happens.
YOUNG POLICEWOMAN: Well, I can’t answer for my superior.
ME: Was yours turned on?
YOUNG POLICEWOMAN: Mine wasn’t. I didn’t even have one.
ME: You just said that you did.
YOUNG POLICEWOMAN: Well, I was sharing one.
ME: There wasn’t one on you?
YOUNG POLICEWOMAN: There wasn’t one on me.
ME: And why wasn’t there?
YOUNG POLICEWOMAN: That’s just the way it was, there wasn’t.
JUDGE: They forgot to issue it . . .
ME: Maybe there were some civilian witnesses. Were there any witnesses there?
YOUNG POLICEWOMAN: I don’t know. I wasn’t looking around at that moment. I can’t say
ME: All eyes were on Liudmila Petrovna . . .
JUDGE: I would have been surprised, too. Considering that she’s a municipal deputy. With an ankle monitor and pretrial restriction . . .
LIUSYA SHTEIN: Do you think I’m such a recognizable person that people recognize me on the street?
JUDGE (not listening to her, continuing her own thought): Now everything here has changed and now we have municipal deputies with ankle monitors. This is unusual, this is simply a shocking thing! (animatedly) Shocking.
ME: What’s so unusual about this? We have lots . . .
LIUSYA SHTEIN: . . . lots of municipal deputies with ankle monitors.
JUDGE: That’s just great! That’s quite a municipal district! (laughs).
ME (to the witness): And when you were patrolling, did you detain anyone else that day?
YOUNG POLICEWOMAN: No.
ME: Did anyone else attract your attention?
YOUNG POLICEWOMAN: No.
ME: That is, in the entire district the sole offender was Liudmila Petrovna.
YOUNG POLICEWOMAN: Why offender? . . . We saw the monitor.
LIUSYA SHTEIN: And what question did you ask regarding my monitor?
YOUNG POLICEWOMAN: We approached you to check your papers and find out . . .
ME: And who said what?
YOUNG POLICEWOMAN: I can’t speak for him.
ME: Did you say anything?
YOUNG POLICEWOMAN: Me? No.
ME: And who can’t you speak for?
YOUNG POLICEWOMAN: For the person who spoke.
YOUNG POLICEWOMAN: Why do I have to say anything for him?
ME: Because I’m asking you.
YOUNG POLICEWOMAN: I already explained, I told you everything, what other questions are there for me?
LIUSYA SHTEIN: It’s written in the report that I called you names, swore, and displayed aggression. What exactly did this look like?
LIUSYA SHTEIN: Right now for this . . . for your report, they’re going to send me to a special detention centre for 15 days. And you can’t even say . . .
YOUNG POLICEWOMAN: I’m not upset about that, to be honest.
(Loud laughter in the room)
LIUSYA SHTEIN: Well, it’s very clear what you are . . .
YOUNG POLICEWOMAN: That’s it!
LIUSYA SHTEIN: But you know I did not offer resistance.
JUDGE: Liudmila Petrovna, you succeed this way in your specific contingent . . . actually, clarify their position as a deputy.
JUDGE: Well, the people sitting next to you. (It’s obvious she’s already put Liusya in the special detention centre in her mind.)
ME: There may be people there who aren’t from her municipal district.
JUDGE: All the more reason he can comment
LIUSYA SHTEIN (to the judge): You can see that the young woman can’t even explain how I displayed aggression.
YOUNG POLICEWOMAN: I don’t even know you, if it comes to that. I’ve never heard of you.
ME: All the worse. So why didn’t you get upset then at the idea that she was going to get 15 days if you don’t even know her and have never heard of her?
YOUNG POLICEWOMAN: Why should I get upset? They put an ankle monitor on her for a reason, didn’t they? Yes. And why should I get upset if they give her 15 days?
ME: For what?
LIUSYA SHTEIN: Because you slandered me?
She’s pretty. She has pretty hair and a pretty name. She’s young, much younger than I am, and probably close in age to Liusya. Both of them—both she and Liusya—will outlive those who personify this regime.
They sent her to take the rap for three.
I’d give a lot to know the truth about what’s going on inside her.
They gave Liusya those same 15 days she’d talked about. The judge tried to joke, “You asked for that much, and I couldn’t refuse you.”
One of Liusya’s days in jail will be her birthday, her twenty-fifth.
Every day after that appearance in court the young policewoman escorts Liusya to the Investigative Committee on Tekhnichesky, where we familiarise ourselves with the “sanitary case.” She takes her out of the special detention centre, where Liusya is serving her 15 days in jail for something she didn’t do. and then brings her back from Tekhnichesky to the special detention centre.
This pretty young woman knows better than anyone what really happened.
Translated by Marian Schwartz