OVD-Info Weekly Bulletin No. 179: Moscow’s Network case?

14 November 2020

OVD-Info is a Moscow-based NGO that monitors politically-motivated arrests and prosecutions in Russia. Each week OVD-Info publishes a bulletin with the latest news, which is translated here. To receive the mailing in Russian, visit here.

The Russian March in Ekaterinburg, 4 November 2019 / Photo: Colonel Cassad blog in LiveJournal

Hi! The FSB has been hinting at a Moscow branch of the Network case, Teatr.doc is being evicted again, and the police do not want to investigate an attack against activists.

Network case convicts transferred to prison. Four of the people convicted in the Network case have been transferred from remand in Penza to prison to serve out their sentences. It is not yet known exactly where they have been transferred. According to Dmitrii Pchelintsev’s lawyer Oksana Markeeva, Maksim Ivankin and Arman Sagybaev had been visited in their cells by the FSB. The officers suggested they testify against the non-existent “Moscow branch” of the Network.

  • Why does this matter? The Network case in Penza and St Petersburg has grown to be one of the highest-profile political cases in recent years: because if the severity of the charges, the enormous sentences, the use of torture and the report of a killing in a forest in Ryazan. The FSB maintains that the Network counted among its members anarchists from Moscow and Belarus, although at present none of these hypothetical criminals has been arrested or charged. There is a risk that FSB officers will put pressure on those convicted while in prison to testify against others.

Police not issuing charges after attack on Cappel Cross 2020 activist camp. The law enforcement agencies have issued a decree, stating that the reason for their decision was the fact that “the cause of the house fire has not been established”. However, it is not clear exactly which house is meant, given that the case concerns an attack on people camping in a forest. The decision came as no surprise to the activists who were affected, given that they believe the attackers themselves to have been linked with the security forces.

  • Why do I need to know this? This is yet another blatant act of violence against members of the opposition to go unpunished. The attackers beat and threatened young people, and set fire to their belongings. However, the police are not too concerned with investigating. It is difficult not to speculate that their colleagues may have been involved.

Landlord terminates Teatr.doc’s tenancy agreement. The theatre has lost one of its stages, Ploshchadka 8/3 (Performance Space 8/3), after staging a play about the shaman Aleksandr Gabyshev, who sought to drive Putin from power. A few days later, the venue owner sent a formal early eviction order. The show about the shaman was specifically cited as an informal reason for the eviction.

  • Why does this matter? Teatr.doc is an independent theatre which is under threat; it has already been forced several times to look for new spaces because of its political shows. The theatre’s disloyal stance irritates the authorities, leading to provocations, threats, searches, evictions and frequent visits from the security forces.


Russian March organiser beaten up. The Russian March was not held in Moscow on 4th November for the first time in 12 years, but nationalists tried to hold alternative, unauthorised marches instead. The organiser of one of these events, Dmitrii Mikhailov, was arrested in the middle of a park while giving an interview to journalists. An OVD-Info activist recounts the details of Mikhailov’s arrest, beating and trial.


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Translated by Judith Fagelson

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