Siberian autonomy march organizers threatened, arrested

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2014/08/16 • News, Russia

Organizers of the Siberian autonomy march and their relatives receive threats, OVD-info reports. Alexey Baranov, coordinator of Novosibirsk’s National Bolshevik Platform [a group split from Eduard Limonov’s Drugaya Rossiya over attitude to Putin’s policies – tr.] and one of the signers of the official notification of the event told that on Thursday morning he was summoned to the police and in the evening – to the prosecutor’s office, where he was to give explanation on the march.

The interrogation lasted for over two hours. The officials wanted to know who was financing the event and if the activists had planned any “revolutionary actions”.

While Baranov was going to the prosecutor’s, four unfamiliar men approached him and threatened to cripple or kill the activist if he wouldn’t refrain from holding the march. As they mentioned names and addresses of Baranov’s relatives, he is sure they were connected with law enforcement.

The march organizer spend the night away from home in fear of police provocation. That night a chopped-off ram’s head was laid at the door of the activist’s parents’ flat he was registered in.

Baranov also told about pressure exerted on two other signers of the march’s notification – Konstantin Eremenko and Alexander Atabaev. Eremenko received a call from the FSB (Federal Security Service) with a threat of a criminal case on drug trafficking. Some unknown people called Atabaev’s parents and his girlfriend’s parents. They asked the latter if they knew what kind of person their daughter was dating.

The day before in the Republic of Altay anti-extremism center [a sinister organization mainly tasked with pressuring activists – tr.] detained  the National Bolshevik platform’s coordinator Mikhail Pulin, his wife and colleague Maria Katynskaya and a journalist Maxim Sobesskyi. The region announced an interception plan to detain them. All three were released after an interrogation at the regional anti-extremism center; Pulin was interrogated personally by the center’s head Alexei Popov.

Pulin and Katynskaya made it for Novosibirsk before Sobesskyi, The latter, meanwhile, was detained again while hitchiking through Novosibirsk. Road policemen moved Sobesskyi out of the car and took his papers, but after some time released him and helped catch a ride.

However, after less than an hour the journalist was detained for the third time, again by a road police unit. Sobesskyi was asked if he was from the town of Kostroma. The one from Kostroma was Pulin, whose name, however, wasn’t mentioned during the interrogation.

Later Sobesskyi was delivered to the district police department. The basis for the detention was a complaint by the driver of the car the journalist was riding – he claimed the passenger had threatened him. Sobesskyi was photographed and fingerprinted. The journalist refused a search and demanded it to be conducted in the presence of a lawyer and sober attesting witnesses: the police tried to use the detainees from the jail cell.

In the morning Sobesskyi was released. The talk in the police department was not about the claim against him but about Pulin and the march again. The journalist assured them that the protest was not of separatist nature and Pulin was not an extremist. The policeman in turn insisted that Pulin was attempting to break Russia apart using the US State Department financing [a common accusation against opposition activists in Russia – tr.]

In the afternoon Sobesskyi noted to OVD-info that he couldn’t contact Pulin and Katynskaya, although by his calculations they had to already be in Novosibirsk by then. Later journalist Roman Popkov announced, citing the activists, that they were detained by criminal investigators in the Trointskyi district of Altai. After some time Sobesskyi said that the police allegedly planted a stolen mobile phone on Pulin. The activist and his wife were brought to the district police department in different cars. “Looks like a criminal case could be initiated,” Popkovnoted.

Later OVD-info reported, citing Sobesskyi, that a criminal case had really been initiated against Pulin. Baranov, in turn, said that the activist was being brought out for a crime re-nenactment.

However, Katynskaya later refuted that information. She said she and Pulin had been detained on a telephone theft lead, but their procedural status was yet unknown. Pulin, the activist added, was being interrogated by an investigator, while she hadn’t been interrogated or searched.

Katynskaya told she was hitch-hiking back from Gorno-Altaisk to Novosibirsk with her husband. During the night and in the morning two people were giving the a ride. In the morning they told the passengers they’d lost the way and turned to Troitskoye village. It was there where the police stopped them and announced they had a lead on them. A mobile phone was found in Pulin’s pocket neither he nor Katynskaya had seen before.

Earlier OVD-info reported citing Pulin himself that the strangers giving them a ride used strange routes, constantly stopped near stores and also stepped out of the car to give phone calls.

The activist suggested these two were undercover policemen who drove her and Pulin around Gorno-Altaisk all night on purpose. Sobesskyi earlier claimed the investigator had openly told Pulin undercover policemen had been driving him.

The Siberia march will take place on Sunday, August 17. The protesters will gather at the “Capital” store at Maxim Gorky street. The march will start at 16.20 through Oktyabrskaya and Kirov streets. The rally will take place at Pimenov square from 17:00 to 18:30.

Source: Grani.ru, translated by Kirill Mikhailov

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  • dok

    hey putin, how about letting the people of Siberia having a referendum on separation. Russia was so much in favor of having referendums in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. Now they will get a taste of their own medicine. Karma can be a real bitch.

  • Murf

    Of course they are the ham fisted pigs.