OVD-Info Weekly Bulletin No. 241: Antifascists of the future

11 February 2022

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.

Daria Serenko being taken to a police station. Serenko’s Facebook page.

Hello! The “Kansk teenagers” have been sentenced, Alekhina and Serenko have been arrested and Memorial is being investigated for alleged rehabilitation of Nazism.

The sentence on the “Kansk teenagers” case. A court in Krasnoyarsk has sentenced the teenagers, who were accused of undergoing terrorist training and making explosives. Nikita Uvarov was sent to a prison colony for five years, while Bogdan Andreev and Denis Mikhailenko were given suspended sentences. Andreev and Mikhailenko were exempted from punishment under the article concerning terrorism training because of their cooperation with the investigation.

Why is this important? There’s some kind of pathology in the logic of FSB investigators, which is repeated time and again in terrorism cases: there is declared terrorism, and terrorists are “appointed”, there are criminal cases, but there is no actual terrorism. That is, no acts of violence, nor indications of preparation for them – more and more often in such cases they are attributed to a future that has not yet arrived, as if they were supposed to happen, and were averted only thanks to the FSB.

The arrest of Alekhina and Serenko. In Moscow, the Tverskoi district court sentenced Pussy Riot activist Maria Alekhina and feminist Darya Serenko to terms in jail, a day apart. In both cases, the activists were charged under the article on displaying extremist symbols: Alekhina was arrested for a Hindu swastika, while Serenko was arrested for the “Smart Vote” symbol. Both women were sentenced to 15 days in jail.

Why do I need to know this? This harassment for extremist symbols is obviously unsatisfactory. Yes, the Hindu sign that Alekhina was arrested for is also called a swastika, but it has nothing to do with Nazism. Accusations on this subject against the anti-fascist Alekhina look like mockery. Then Serenko was charged with publishing a “Navalny Staff” badge, even though it was, in fact, a “Smart Vote” badge. It is clear that the staff of the Centre for Countering Extremism sat down on purpose and looked for something on the activists’ pages to which some article of the Administrative Offences Code could be applied.

International Memorial is being investigated under the article regarding the rehabilitation of Nazism. Yan Rachinsky, chair of the board of directors of International Memorial, stated that he had been summoned to the Investigative Committee to give explanations as part of an investigation under the article on the rehabilitation of Nazism. The investigation is being carried out because of a statement by the Russian veterans’ movement – the movement believes that the lists of victims of Soviet political repression compiled by Memorial include people who collaborated with the Nazis during the Second World War.

Why is this important? On the one hand, the initiative by Veterans of Russia looks wild and far-fetched by today’s standards. On the other, you never know what times we will all wake up in tomorrow. Memorial’s lists of those repressed in the USSR could include a collaborators or indeed any evildoer, because the inclusion of a name on the list records the fact of repression, and does not relate to the person’s activities.

About the “Kansk teenagers”. The sentences of Nikita Uvarov, Bogdan Andreev and Denis Mikhailenko have been made public. We have published an article about this absurd case.

About the “anti-litter” protests. In 2019, a resident of Kolomna, Vyacheslav Yegorov, one of the organisers of local protests against the importation of rubbish from Moscow, was prosecuted under an article for repeated administrative violations at rallies. In 2021, he was sentenced to a year and three months in prison; on February 17, the Moscow City Court will continue to consider appeals against his conviction. We tell you about Yegorov’s case.

We also have a new episode of our podcast Liquidation! This time we talk about the partners of International Memorial and the Memorial Human Rights Centre: Civic Assistance, Caucasian Knot, Last Address, Open List and, of course, about us ourselves, OVD-Info. Listen everywhere: Podcast.ru | Castbox | Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Yandex.Music | YouTube.

Translated by Anna Bowles

Leave a Reply