Bolotnaya Square case
This article needs to be updated.June 2018)(
The Bolotnaya Square case is a criminal case by the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation on account of alleged mass riots (article 212 of the Russian Criminal code) and alleged violence against police (article 318 of the Russian Criminal code) during the "March of the Millions" on May 6, 2012 on the Bolotnaya square in Moscow. The demonstration was one of the biggest protests in Russia since the 1990s. By the number of accused - 37 persons - it is currently the largest criminal case against participants of public protests.
The Bolotnaya Square case is largely recognized as politically motivated both internationally and in Russia. The Russian Human Rights Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin repeatedly stated that "there were no riots in Bolotnaya Square" and "innocent people were subjected to criminal sanctions". The Memorial Human Rights Centre recognized the case politically motivated. The European Court of Human Rights issued numerous verdicts wherein it ruled that in the Bolotnaya Square case Russia violated European Convention on Human Rights, including the Article 11 of the Convention on account of "the authorities’ failure to ensure the peaceful conduct of the assembly". The European Parliament issued resolutions 2013/2667(RSP) of June 13, 2013 and resolution 2014/2628(RSP) of March 13, 2014 on the political nature of the Bolotnaya Square case. Prisoners of the case were recognized as prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International.
Overall, more than 30 people were officially accused. Of these 30 individuals, 26 were men and 4 were women. Most of them were kept under arrest, several under house arrest, and one escaped abroad.
The persecutions under the Bolotnaya square case are still ongoing. In July 2018 the Russian Ministry of Interior filed lawsuit against several defendants in the "Bolotnaya case" for the lost by the police rubber sticks and radio stations. On December 2, 2016, Dmitry Buchenkov, who claims he was not in Moscow on the day of the demonstration, was detained. He was released from jail and put under house arrest in 2017. Consecutively, he secretly fled Russia and was granted asylum in Lithuania in June 2018. In December 2019, the prosecution in Russia demanded an 8-year term in jail for Buchenkov.
The case also included a crackdown against the Russian opposition leaders. Houses of Alexey Navalny, Sergey Udaltsov, Kseniya Sobchak, Boris Nemtsov, Ilya Yashin and Pyotr Verzilov were searched. Garry Kasparov and Sergei Guriev left Russia in 2013.
More than 200 investigators are working on the case. According to Novaya Gazeta, most of them call the case “political” in private discussions. More than 13 thousand people have been questioned as witnesses, however the overwhelming majority of them were law enforcement agents.
In order to help the arrested their supporters created an organization called the May 6th Committee. Dozens of prominent musicians and artists publicly supported the prisoners of the Bolotnaya square case, among them Yuri Shevchuk, Noize MC, Boris Akunin, Anti-Flag and many others.
Most of the people accused in the Bolotnaya square case then were amnestied in December 2013 due to the public pressure both at home and abroad in support of the political prisoners.
- 1 The accused
- 1.1 Vladimir Akimenkov
- 1.2 Oleg Arhipenkov
- 1.3 Andrey Barabanov
- 1.4 Maria Baronova
- 1.5 Fyodor Bakhov
- 1.6 Yaroslav Belousov
- 1.7 Ilya Guschin
- 1.8 Alexandra Dukhanina
- 1.9 Aleksey Gaskarov
- 1.10 Stepan Zimin
- 1.11 Nikolay Kavkazsky
- 1.12 Alexandr Kamensky
- 1.13 Elena Kokhtaryeva
- 1.14 Mikhail Kosenko
- 1.15 Leonid Kovyazin
- 1.16 Sergey Krivov
- 1.17 Konstantin Lebedev
- 1.18 Maxim Luzyanin
- 1.19 Denis Lutskevich
- 1.20 Alexander Margolin
- 1.21 Alexey Polikhovich
- 1.22 Leonid Razvozzhaev
- 1.23 Dmitry Rukavishnikov
- 1.24 Artem Savelov
- 1.25 Rikhard Sobolev
- 1.26 Anastasia Rybachenko
- 2 Sentences
- 3 Russian activists that left their country for fear of prosecution
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External links
The accused include more than thirty participants of the demonstration:
Born in 1987. An activist with the “Left Front” organization. He has been held in custody since June 10, currently he is kept in the pre-detention prison № 5 in Moscow. He is facing charges of participating in mass riots (article 212 of the Russian Criminal Code) and he could be sentenced to up to eight years in prison. He was accused of throwing a flag pole at a policeman. The only piece of evidence that the indictment is founded upon is the testimony provided by the Special Unit policeman Egorov, the only witness. Akimenkov suffers from serious inborn eye diseases such as severe myopia, partial atrophy of the eye nerve and coloboma of the iris. In prison his eyesight is drastically decreasing.
In the month of September 3.5 thousand people signed a petition demanding his hospitalization. He was transferred to the prison hospital. The doctors described his condition as satisfactory. On October 29 in court Vladimir insisted that his eyesight was getting even weaker.
Different civic activists organized numerous actions in support of Vladimir Akimenkov. At the latest court session on November 26 his lawyer Dmitry Agranovsky presented letters from the Parliament member Ilya Ponomarev, the human rights activist Lev Ponomarev, the writer Ludmila Ulitskaya and the human rights activist Ludmila Alekseeva offering to put up bail for Akimenkov.
On May 16, his custody extension was annulled by the Moscow City Court and he was supposed to be freed on June 10. But on June 6th, as preliminary hearings began, all the defendants were remanded again until November, 24th, so Vladimir's detention is extended until late November.
Born in 1985. A commercial manager of a travel agency. He was detained on May 6 on the Teatralnaya rather than on the Bolotnaya square which is indicated in the court papers. On June 10 he was arrested for allegedly participating in the mass riots (article 212 of the Russian Criminal Code) and he is facing up to eight years in prison. On August 9 he was released under recognizance not to leave the city, but he still has not been cleared of charges.
Born in 1990, an artist. Arrested on June 28, he has been kept in the pre-trial detention prison № 2. He is accused of allegedly participating in the mass riot (article 212 of the Russian Criminal Code) and using force against a representative of the authorities (article 318 of the Russian Criminal Code). He is facing up to thirteen years in prison. He was accused of kicking a Special Unit policeman with his foot. He pleaded guilty to violating the article 318 while he pleaded not guilty to violating the article 212 stating that there had not been any mass riots on the Bolotnaya square.
At his latest court session on December 3 his lawyer Svetlana Sidorkina told that Andrey Barabanov had sent a letter of apology to the injured party (Kruglov) and that the latter had accepted his apology and agreed to settle the case by the reconciliation of the parties.
Andrey Barabanov is remanded until November, 24th.
Born in 1984. An activist of the “Party of December 5th”. On June 21 she was accused of calling for mass riots " (paragraph 3, article 212 of the Russian Criminal Code). The accusation is based on a videotape that shows Maria allegedly quarreling with a policeman. She is currently under pledge not to leave the city.
Born in 1981. A chemical scientist. Arrested on June 10. He is accused of participating in mass riots (paragraph 2, article 212 of the Russian Criminal Code) and he is facing up to eight years in prison. By the advice of the court-appointed lawyer he wrote a letter of confession and was immediately arrested for two months. After seeing a lawyer hired by the human rights organizations he rapidly denounced his previous confession. He spent five months in the pretrial detention prison and he was released under pledge not to leave the city on November 6. He has not been cleared yet.
Born in 1991. A student of the Moscow State university, married, he also has a little son. Arrested on June 9, he has been kept in the pretrial detention prison № 5 in Moscow. He is accused of participating in mass riots (paragraph 2, article 212 of the Russian Criminal Code) and of using force against a representative of the authorities (paragraph 1, article 318 of the Russian Criminal Code). He is facing up to thirteen years in prison. he was accused of throwing a billiard ball at a Special Unit policeman. The indictment is founded upon the testimony provided by the injured party (Filippov). The State Duma member Tetekhin and around ten municipal deputies in Moscow wrote guarantees for Yaroslav Belousov. Belousov’s family offered to put up bail.
Yaroslav Belousov is remanded until November 24, 2013.
Born in 1988. An activist of National Democratic Party. Arrested on February 6. The Investigative Committee of Russia claims Ilya Guschin had grabbed a police officer by his uniform, trying to prevent the arrest of another protester In his testimony Ilya confessed to having offered resistance to the police forces as he stood in a live chain along with other protesters. “They said that the rally had been cancelled, and I could not understand why. The police forces starting beating people, and I attempted to defend one man whom they attacked. I grabbed a police officer by his helmet, wanted to prevent him from hurting that man, I felt like this was my duty to try to do something. I tried to pull the policeman back, I realized that I could possibly hurt him and I did not want this, but the officer turned around and raised his truncheon at me. I disappeared into the crowd. I had done nothing more that could have been illegal or criminal”, Ilya is quoted as saying.
According to media reports, Guschin is a Moscow Institute of Psychology and Education graduate who had spent three years working as an analyst for the Moscow Football Club . “Ilya was an ardent football fan, just a regular chap who trusted people. So long as he was part of the club everything was alright, because there were senior members there and they sort of looked after the younger ones. But then the club was closed down, and we lost sight of him. He went to work elsewhere, and our guys lost touch with him. But one thing was always there – he was invariably civic-minded . And that is none of his fault that the authorities had decided to stage a provocation on that day. Nor can he be blamed for his failure to remain just a bystander when he saw that the police were beating people”, Motin writes.
Ilya Guschin is remanded until October 6, 2013..
Born in 1993. A student at the Moscow State university School of Translation and Interpretation, specializing in German. She was detained on May 27 and has been placed under house arrest. She us accused of participating in mass riots (parapraph 2, article 212 of the Russian Criminal Code) and using force against a representative of the authorities (paragraph 1, article 318 of the Russian Criminal Code). She is facing up to thirteen years in prison. She was accused of throwing pieces of asphalt at the Special Unit policemen. The injured party suffered skin reddening and physical pain.
Alexandra Dukhanina is placed under house arrest until November 24, 2013,
Born in 1985, a prominent anti-fascist activist. In 2010 he was arrested and charged with assaulting the mayor of the town of Khimki, but cleared of all charges. Arrested on April 28, 2013 following his participation in the demonstrations on May 6, 2012. he is currently remanded until October, 6th.
Born in 1992. A student of the Russian State University for the Humanities, an anarchist. Arrested on June 8, he is kept in the pre-trial detention prison № 5. He is accused of participating in mass riots (paragraph 1, article 212 of the Russian Criminal Code) and of using force against a representative of the authorities (paragraph 1, article 318 of the Russian Criminal Code). He is facing up to thirteen years in prison. He was accused of throwing a piece of asphalt at a Special Unit policeman and broke his finger. Medical experts concluded that the finger could not have been broken in that way since the injury were more likely to be a result twisting.
On November 27 the students of the RGHU organized a picket in support of Stepan Zimin.
He is remanded until November 24, 2013.
Born in 1986. A lawyer, a human rights activist and a member of opposition. He was arrested on July 25 and is kept in the pre-trial detention prison № 2. He is accused of participating in mass riots (paragraph 2, article 212 of the Russian Criminal Code) and he is facing up to eight years in prison. According to the accusation, he hit a policeman. An independent investigation undertaken by a journalist from the “Grani.ru” human rights organization implies that Nikolay was not beating the policeman but was rather dodging the blows.
Nikolay Kavkazsky suffers from multiple diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, headaches, scoliosis, respiratory failure, heart disease, gastritis, allergy, dermatitis, His lawyers Tamara Romanova and Sergey Minnenkov have repeatedly drawn the attention of the court to Nikolay Kavkazsky’s health conditions while presenting his medical records. He also complained about his health condition deteriorating in prison himself.
In prison, Nikolay Kavkazsky wrote the article “What can we do about the prisons?”
Nikolay Kavkazsky's filed an appeal to the Presidium of the Moscow City court and his detention was changed to house arrest on August 2, 2013, more than a year after he was arrested. He was under house arrest until November, 24th, 2013.
Born in 1977. An activist with “The Other Russia”. He was detained on the Teatralnaya square on May 6. He was arrested on June 10th, but no charges were brought within 10 following days, so he was released. Now he is a suspect in the case.
Born in 1955. She is accused of throwing various objects at policemen and using force against them during the demonstrations. She was interrogated on March 25 and she is currently under pledge not to leave the city.
Mikhail Kosenko was born in 1975. He has a registered 2-degree disability due to a psychiatric disease caused by an injury suffered in the army. He is accused of participating in the mass riots (paragraph 2, article 212 of the Russian Criminal Code) and using force dangerous for life and health against a representative of the authorities (parapraph 2, article 318 of the Russian Criminal Code - the only one accused of committing this crime). He is facing up to eighteen years in prison. He was accused of hitting a policeman at least once with his hand and with his foot. He was arrested on June 8 and he is kept in the psychiatric ward of the prison hospital in the pre-trial detention prison № 2.
More than ten years ago Mikhail Kosenko was recognized as a disabled person. All of his family and friends view him as an adequate person who does not pose any threat to the society. Previously Mikhail used to take special medication on a regular basis. However, in prison the access to the necessary medication is limited.
The psychiatric assessment conducted by the specialists with the Serbsky Institute initiated by the investigators concluded that he was of diminished responsibility. The experts with the Independent psychiatric association of Russia analyzed the results and deemed them to be dubious. The May 6th committee asked the International psychiatric association to conduct an independent assessment of Mikhail Kosenko’s condition. People signed a petition on the Internet. On November 9, the trial of Mikhail Kosenko began. The prosecution and the court are inclined to send him to a psychiatric clinic for mandatory treatment for an indefinite time.
The case is remanded until July 22, 2013. On July 10, the custody of M.K. was prolonged until October 22.
Born in 1986. An actor and a journalist. The only accused who lives in a different city than Moscow (namely in Kirov). He was arrested in Kirov on September 5 and transferred to Moscow. He is kept in the pretrial detention prison № 4. Leonid Kovyazin is accused of participating in mass riots (paragraph 2, article 212 of the Russian Criminal Code) and he is facing up to eight years in prison. He was accused of turning six toilet boxes upside down. He admitted to have helped to move them (the photos and the video show only three of them). He explained that he wanted to protect people from the Special Unit policemen. He does not recognize himself a participant of mass riots.
His lawyer Ruslan Chanidze presented the court several letters of guarantee from different Kirov culture figures. The chief editor of the newspaper that Kovyazin worked at repeatedly offered to put up a bail of 750 000 roubles. At the November 28th court session the defense presented numerous letters from journalists and editors from different media.
Leonid Kovyazin is remanded until November, 24th, 2013.
Born in 1961, married, he has two underage children and also his disabled mother in his charge. A civic activist, a member of the RPR-Parnas. Before the arrest he repeatedly spoke out in favor of the May 6th prisoners.
He was arrested on October 18 and he is kept in the pretrial detention prison № 1. He was accused of participating in mass riots (paragraph 2, article 212 of the Russian Criminal Code) and of using force against a representative of the authorities (paragraph 1, article 318 of the Russian Criminal Code). He is facing up to thirteen years in prison. He was also accused of snatched a club from a policeman and hit the policeman with it. The injury suffered by the policeman is a bruise at the back of his hand. Sergey Krivov views himself as innocent.
After the December 14th court session when he was remanded until March 6 Krivov declared a hunger strike demanding to be released.
Remanded until November, 24th, 2013.
After completing a three-year, nine-month sentence, Krivov was released in July 2016.
Born on June 25, 1979, is active in the Russian Socialist Movement. He was called in for interrogation following the Oct. 5, 2012 projection of the film «The Anatomy of the Protests» and arrested on Oct. 17. He is charged with the organization and preparation of riots, including the May 6 demonstration at Bolotnaya Square, and has been placed in preventive detention. On April 26, he was found guilty and sentenced to 2 years and 6 months in jail.
Born in 1976. A businessman. He was arrested on May28th and he is kept at the pretrial detention prison № 1. He is accused of participating in the mass riots (paragraph 2, article 212 of the Russian Criminal Code) and of allegedly using force against a representative of the authorities (paragraph 1, article 318 of the Russian Criminal Code). He was accused of injuring of Special Unit policemen, the most severe of which appears to be tooth enamel damage. He pleaded guilty to all the counts of the accusation and agreed to a special court procedure that allows not no prove guilt. The verdict was returned the same day, on November 9. He was sentenced to 4,5 years in a general regime prison.
Born in 1992. A student and a former marine infantryman. On May 6 he was clubbed by the Special Unit policemen which is proven by the photos. He was arrested in June 9 and he is kept in the pre-trial detention prison № 5. he is accused of participating in mass riots (paragraph 2, article 212 of the Russian Criminal Code) and using force against a representative if the authorities (paragraph 1, article 318 of the Russian Criminal Code). He is facing up to thirteen years in prison. He was accused of snatching a helmet off a Special Unit policeman’s head and threw pieces of asphalt at them. The accusation is founded on the testimony provided by the injured party, Troerin.
The lawyer of Denis Lutskevich, Dmitry Dinze, presented the court with numerous positive references from his work, university and from his neighbors. Denis’s mother offered to put up her apartment (worth more than 4 000 000 roubles) as bail.
Denis Lutskevich is remanded until November, 24th, 2013.
Born in 1971. Alexander Margolin is a Moscow State University of Printing Arts graduate, who worked as the deputy director of the Mediacentre-ART Publishers. He is married, with two daughters. He was arrested on February 21. He is accused of violating paragraph 1 of article 318 of the Russian Criminal Code and paragraph 2 of article 212 of the Russian Criminal Code. Alexander had been taking part in protest events since December 2011 when he was arrested after the rally at Chistiye Prudi (Dec 5) and sentenced to spend 10 days in detention, He was not, however, detained after the notorious May 6 rally on Bolotnaya Square. And now the investigators claim to hold video records which show Margolin trying to knock down a police task force officer. That said, no video records confirming this have been provided. He is remanded until October 6.
Born in 1990. A student and an employee of an insurance company, he also used to be a marine. He was arrested in July 26 and he is kept in the pretrial detention prison № 2. He is accused of participating in mass riots (paragraph 2, article 212 of the Russian Criminal Code) and of using force against a representative of the authorities (paragraph 1, article 318). He is facing up to thirteen years in prison. He was accused of trying to snatch a detained person from the hands of the Special Unit policemen and hit one of them on a hand in the struggle. He was initially accused only of participating in mass riots, u in the month of December the policeman who had not previously provided this information remembered that Aleksey Polikhovich hit him on the hand.
Aleksey Polikhovich is remanded until November, 24th, 2013.
Born in 1973, he is a businessman, former President of the Retail and Service Workers’ Union. He is married with two children, aged 8 and 16, and supports his old mother who lives in Siberia. A politically active since 1998, he is a member of the ‘Left Front’ and Assistant to Representative I. Ponomarev of the State Duma (Congress). On October 21 he was elected to the Coordinating Committee of the Opposition. Leonid was called in for interrogation following the Oct. 5, 2012 projection of the film « The Anatomy of the Protests . » He left for Ukraine in order to request political asylum at the Kiev office of the UN Human Rights Commission, but on Oct. 19 he was kidnapped right near the UNHCR office and transported back to Russia. After two days of being tortured, he signed the confessions that he was asked to sign and which he formally renounced in court a few days later on Oct. 25. He is charged with the organization and preparation of riots, including the May 6 demonstration at Bolotnaya Square, and has been placed in preventive detention. He is remanded until October 6, 2013.
Born in 1977. Charged pursuant to Part 2 of Article 212 of the Russian Criminal Code. He is under arrest until October 6, 2013.
Born in 1979. On May 6, he went to a demonstration for the very first time and happened to be at the point of cordon break. He was detained, according to the police report, he was shouting out such slogans as “Down with the police state!” and so forth. According to his friends and other people that talked to him, he stutters severely and he can’t pronounce a phrase that long.
He was arrested on June 9, he is kept in the pretrial detention prison № 4. He is accused of participating in mass riots (paragraph 2, article 212 of the Russian Criminal Code) and of allegedly using force against a representative of the authorities (paragraph 1, article 318 of the Russian Criminal Code). He is facing up to thirteen years in prison. He was accused of grasping a policeman by hand and trying to draw him into the aggressive crowd. The lawyer Farid Murtazin claims that Savelov suffers from some heart problems and that he needs a medical consultation which is impossible in prison conditions. Artem Savelov’s father offered to put to 540 000 roubles as bail.
Artem Savelov is remanded until November, 24th.
Born in 1990. An electrician. He was detained on the Teatralnaya square on may 6th, which is proven by the court documents. He was arrested on June 10. He is accused of participating in mass riots (paragraph 2, article 212 of the Russian Criminal Code). He is facing up to eight years in prison. On August 9 he was released under pledge not to leave the city. He has not been cleared of charges.
Born on September 11, 1991, an activist with the "Solidarnost" movement. Home of her parents was searched in July 2012. At that time Rybachenko had already left Russia for her studies in Estonia, which she began in August 2012. The leaders of Solidarnost Garry Kasparov and Boris Nemtsov provided her with their personal letters of recommendation for her enrollment in Tallinn University of Technology. In September 2013, the Investigative Committee of Russia made public that as of September 11, 2012, it accused Rybachenko of participating in mass riots (paragraph 2, article 212 of the Russian Criminal Code) though has kept it unknown for longer than a year. With regard to the situation, Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip said that Rybachenko "should definitely submit an application to the corresponding institutions in Estonia. The most advisable would be to apply for asylum." In response, Rybachenko published an open letter to PM Ansip and stated that she appreciates the concern but does not need an asylum as long as she has a student visa to stay in the EU. In the letter, Rybachenko also noted that her case is recognized as politically motivated in Europe, particularly by the European Parliament (resolutions 2013/2667(RSP) and 2014/2628(RSP)), Amnesty International and the European Court of Human Rights. In January 2014, before the investigation was completed, the case against Rybachenko was definitively closed due to the amnesty issued by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Rybachenko announced her intention to return to Russia.
On November 9, Maxim Luzyanin was sentenced to 4.5 years of common regime prison by the Zamoskvoretsky court in Moscow.
On 24 February 2014 seven Bolotnaya case accused received prison sentences:
- Sergey Krivov - four years;
- Andrey Barabanov - three years and seven months;
- Stepan Zimin - three years and six months;
- Denis Lutskevich - three years and six months;
- Alexey Polikhovich - three years and six months;
- Artem Savelov - two years and seven months;
- Yaroslav Belousov - two years and six months;
- Alexandra Dukhanina has received a suspended sentence.
On 18 August 2014 the sentences were announced for:
- Aleksey Gaskarov - three years and six months;
- Ilya Goushchin - two years five months;
- Alexander Margolin - three years and six months;
- Elena Kohtareva - a conditional term of three years and seven months.
On 24 July 2014 the sentences were announced for:
- Sergei Udaltsov - four years and six months;
- Leonid Razvozzhaeva - four years and six months.
Up to 60 activists were accused in delinquency, fined and had a record in secret police file as disloyal. There were mass protests around the court following by mass arrests of the protesters.
Russian activists that left their country for fear of prosecutionEdit
Several Russian activists have left their country for fear of prosecution and have sought refugee status in Ukraine. As of late July 2013 these appeals have all been denied by Ukrainian migration authorities and appeals are pending. The activists then were granted asylum in Sweden, Spain, Estonia, Germany and Lithuania.
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