OVD-Info Weekly Bulletin No. 358: The family as an ‘extremist association’

25 May 2024

OVD-Info is a Russian civil society organisation 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.

Aleksandr Nevzorov and his wife Lidiya Nevzorova / Photo: Instagram of Lidiya Nevzorova

Hello! A defendant in a case of an attempted arson attack on a military recruitment office has been sentenced to 25 years in prison, the journalist Aleksandr Nevzorov and his wife face being labelled an “extremist association”, and a student at the Russian State Social University has been expelled following a dispute over Stalin’s repressions. 

News

A man from Novosibirsk has been sentenced to 25 years in jail and fined 100,000 roubles for plotting a failed arson attack on a military recruitment office. Ilya Baburin was found guilty on six counts: the attempted organisation of a terrorist act, state treason, illegal circulation of special technical equipment enabling the covert acquisition of information, participation in an illegal armed group, engagement with a terrorist organisation and an act of terrorism. The investigation alleges that Baburin was affiliated with the ‘Ukrainian paramilitary nationalist unit, AZOV.’ Baburin was also accused of setting fire to a local music school. He denies all charges.

  • Why do I need to know this? Ilya Baburin described his case as “absurd, a means for law enforcement officers to earn the stars on their epaulettes”. “I once spoke well of a guy who, eight months after my comment, joined the terrorist organisation AZOV. The investigation concluded that due to this, I support terrorists and AZOV as a whole” he claimed. According to Solidarity Zone (a Telegram channel), during his time in the pre-trial detention centre, the defendant was subjected to physical abuse and bullying. It was also reported that in September 2023 Baburin was beaten by officers in charge of transferring him to the courtroom, who called him a “traitor to the motherland”.

Journalist Aleksandr Nevzorov and his wife Lidia Nevzorova to be labelled an “extremist association.” This comes as a St. Petersburg prosecutor’s office has now filed the corresponding lawsuit in court. The prosecutor has also demanded the confiscation of the couple’s real estate by the state. In February 2023, Aleksandr Nevzorov was sentenced in absentia to eight years in prison for allegedly spreading “fake news” about the Russian army. In April 2023, he faced a second criminal charge for failing to comply with the obligations of a “foreign agent”. Nevzorov fled Russia before the criminal prosecution and in June 2022, obtained Ukrainian citizenship.

  • Why is this important? According to his lawyer Aleksei Pryanishnikov, the family is being labelled as an “extremist association” primarily to enable the appropriation of their property. He notes that the prosecutor’s office has been trying to seize the journalist’s plots of land through civil lawsuits for the past year but that these attempts have been unsuccessful. “The Nevzorovs will likely be the first test case. The process will be refined through their case and then applied more broadly,” Pryanishnikov suggests.

A student at the Russian State Social University was expelled, evicted, and escorted to a military enlistment office following an argument in class about Stalin’s repressions. During the lecture, 18-year-old Alan Misikov stated that Joseph Stalin had repressed 42 million people, leading the lecturer to expel him from the classroom. Following student council meetings, Misikov was evicted from his university dormitory and expelled from the university, with truancy stated as the official reason. The next day, law enforcement officers visited Misikov, detained him, and escorted him to the military enlistment office. He was released the following day with a summons to the enlistment office.

  • Why do I need to know this? Many Russian students are coming up against intimidation due to their political views. Students are being expelled for participating in protests, for example, or for making anti-war statements. Increasingly, views and beliefs that differ from the state’s official stance lead to persecution, and this includes questioning the government-approved version of history.

Features

Since 2015, 623 individuals have been prosecuted in relation to public protests. Freedom of assembly is a right enshrined in the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and in the Russian Constitution. Article 31 of the Russian Constitution states: ‘Citizens of the Russian Federation shall have the right to assemble peacefully, without arms, to hold meetings, rallies, demonstrations, marches, and pickets.’ Despite this, people taking part in peaceful protests are prosecuted in Russia. We have compiled detailed information in our dataset and you can access this on our website.


Translated by Marjolein Thickett

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