Lev Shlosberg: Article 20.3.3 of the Code of Administrative Offences is intended to make people keep quiet

14 April 2022

By Lev Shlosberg

Source: Facebook

My friends, first, my thanks to everyone for your concern and support. Let’s start with an aside: we’re all right. “We” because yesterday there were two unplanned events I have to talk about.

On 14 April 2022, the peaceful Shlosberg family celebrated the Day of Article 20.3.3, part 1, of the Russian Code of Administrative Offences (the one that says, “Public acts aimed at discrediting the use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation for purposes of protecting the interests of the Russian Federation and its citizens…”).

Late in the evening of Wednesday, 13 April, a summons was brought to the house for Zhanna, and on the evening of Thursday, 14 April, she went to the police and was issued a police charge in connection with comments and replies on her VKontakte page. 

She came home and brought the police charge. I had been planning to go to Moscow for the Yabloko conference — via Petersburg, by night train, but the train would leave without me because it was yesterday evening that police officers decided they wanted to see me, too, under the same article of the Code of Administrative Offences, and moreover immediately. 

At first the police officers from the Centre for Combating Extremism came to our house, but we didn’t meet. When I learned that our guests had come, I called them and asked the reason for their visit. They told me that they had received another document (now concerning me) and they had to write up a police charge sheet. I told them I was leaving for Moscow and would be back on Monday and suggested we meet on Monday. And, as I heard it, we calmly made an appointment. 

But officers from the Centre for Combating Expremism stopped our car en route in the city, as the driver and I were leaving for Petersburg. They said “the situation had changed” and they had to write up the police charge today. As a result, at 21:45, we “altered our trajectory of movement.” I never argue with the police in these situations. They asked us to go with them, so we went. We rode in two cars: the officers; and the driver and I.

It’s interesting that the police charge was based on a page in social media to which access is restricted. The subject of the police charge was a direct video recorded from a federal channel broadcast a month ago. 

The police charge was completed at around 23:45, at which point we quietly parted ways.

I’ll leave commentary on the police charges for the court.

What can I say now? 

Article 20.3.3 of the Code of Administrative Offences is intended to make people keep quiet. Literally to stop writing and saying what they consider necessary and correct about our country, the inhabitants of our country, our rights and freedoms, and the regime’s policy. The article’s ideal goal is to scare people out of even thinking. That goal cannot be achieved.

There will be hearings on Zhanna’s case and mine in Pskov Municipal Court, the date to be announced by the court. We will be commenting on the court’s decisions. 

Once again, we thank everyone who has been in contact with us during this time and who has supported us. To my party colleagues, I look forward to seeing you soon in Moscow.

Translated by Marian Schwartz

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