OVD-Info Weekly Bulletin No. 362: Shibari in a cemetery

22 June 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.


Anna Panteleeva – one of the defendants being prosecuted for taking part in a photo shoot in a cemetery / Photo: personal Instagram

In St. Petersburg, a criminal case was initiated over a BDSM-style photo shoot in a cemetery, SOTAvision journalist Artem Kriger was remanded in custody, and Igor Baryshnikov, convicted in the case of military fakes, is experiencing intimidation in the penal colony.

Four people were remanded in custody for a photo shoot in a St. Petersburg cemetery. The artist Anna Panteleeva was detained on 18 June, the next day she was remanded in custody. A criminal case against her was initiated for a photo shoot on 17 June at Bolsheokhtinsky cemetery. Panteleeva was filmed there topless in a shibari style BDSM costume. St Petersburg homophobe Timur Bulatov claimed that he reported Panteleeva to the police. Later law enforcement officers detained photographer Sergei Evstiukhin, artist Kristina Rozhkova and 19-year-old Yaroslava Gumennaya, all of whom were also remanded in custody in the case on 20 June.

  • Why is this important? The defendants in the case are charged with abuse of burial sites, committed by a group of persons. However, the legislation does not explain what exactly constitutes abuse in this context. The authorities are making every effort to protect ‘traditional values,’ including the Orthodox faith, and photos on the background of crosses on graves seem appropriate grounds to try to send people to prison. The maximum penalty for this offence is three years’ imprisonment.

SOTAvision journalist Artem Kriger remanded in custody. Kriger is charged with participation in the ‘extremist community’ FBK. He was detained on 18 June after a search in his home. At the end of March, the court remanded another SOTAvision employee, Antonina Favorskaya, in custody. She was also charged with participation in an extremist community for alleged co-operation with FBK.

  • Why do I need to know this? The authorities continue to increase pressure on the opposition media, especially against those journalists who remain in Russia and continue to report honestly on what is happening in the country. A person convicted of participation in an extremist group faces six years’ imprisonment. The security forces are using this law to finally suppress freedom of speech in Russia by silencing the employees of independent publications.

Igor Baryshnikov, convicted on charges of spreading ‘fake news’ about the military, is being pressured in the penal colony. The staff of the penal colony demanded that he not talk about politics with other convicts. Baryshnikov also had problems with receiving parcels ‘from outside’, and he was no longer allowed to make phone calls from the penal colony for an unknown reason. In addition, Baryshnikov was summoned to the disciplinary commission because he walked around the colony in 30-degree heat in shorts instead of trousers. Baryshnikov has a cystoma – a tube inserted through the abdominal wall into the bladder – which must not be overheated. At the same time, doctors in the penal colony have been delaying for months the operation that would remove the need for the cystoma.

  • Why do I need to know this? Since the beginning of his criminal prosecution, Igor Baryshnikov’s chronic disease has worsened and prostate cancer is suspected. The penal colony does not provide him with proper medical care. The tube in his bladder is not regularly changed as required and he does not receive necessary medicines. He faces death in custody. You can help pay for the work of the lawyers who are trying to get Igor Baryshnikov released on health grounds. Let’s together try to save his life.

Charges are being drawn up against Russia citizens for engaging in ‘foreign agent’ activities without having been designated a ‘foreign agent.’ According to the law, if a person is engaged in activities of a ‘foreign agent’, he or she must report this to the Ministry of Justice, otherwise he or she will face administrative liability. Two such charges were drawn up in Khabarovsk against Sergei Kustov, director of a book business and his company, and another against a ‘head of the sales department Natalia Matiushina’ from Volgograd. If the defendants are fined twice, they can be prosecuted under the criminal law for a third offence.

  • Why do I need to know this? The law is formulated in such a way that practically anyone can be classified as a ‘foreign agent’. It is enough for a person or organisation to be engaged in ‘political activity’ – which would include, for example, dissemination of opinions about decisions taken by government agencies – or to be under ‘foreign influence’, which includes publishing posts on ‘forbidden’ social networks or receiving various types of ‘support’ from other ‘foreign agents’, even in undefined ‘other forms’. We explain more about this tool of persecution in our Telegram channel.

Features

A former contract soldier who recorded an anti-war video and set fire to his military ID has been sentenced to six years in a penal colony in absentia. Evgeny Babin from Kursk region took part in opposition rallies, defended his rights at work and with regard to the local authorities. He was able to leave Russia after a criminal investigation against him had begun on charges of spreading ‘fake news’ about the army. He is now making his home in Armenia. We talked to him there.

People in ‘skinhead costumes’ and the mounted police. On 1 June, Moscow police dispersed an informal hippie festival in Tsaritsyn on the grounds that the event did not have official permission. The ‘Hippyatnik’ participants gather in the park every year on the first day of summer to listen to live music and spend time outdoors. This was the first time they have met with opposition from the police – and here’s what happened.

Anna Bazhutova is 31, a tattoo artist and streamer. Since last August, she has been held on remand. She is charged with spreading ‘fake news’ about the Russian army. According to the investigation, during a stream on Twitch she read the stories of Bucha residents and wrote on a cardboard poster that Russian soldiers killed 300 people in Bucha. At one of the sessions in court, Anna’s boyfriend said he testified to the investigator under torture. He was forced to say that he supported the war and condemned Bazhutova’s actions. The court recognised this as an inadmissible method of investigation and adjourned the session. Anna is collecting 236,000 roubles to pay for a lawyer to work on an appeal and for visits to the remand prison. The collection is open on ‘Zaodno’ – a platform through which you can safely support those whose cases OVD-Info is working on.


Translated by Rights in Russia

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