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Civil Society Activists' Apartments Searched - “The full force of the state is being brought to bear...”

11 December 2012 

Source: (info
On 11 December, searches were made of civil society activists' apartments in Nizhny Novgorod and Moscow. Russian civil society activists and human rights workers fear a new wave of political repressions in Russia. 

Nizhny Novgorod 

In Nizhny Novgorod, Other Russia activists Yury Straroverov and Ekaterina and Aleksandr Zaitsev were all subjected to searches. Officers from the Ministry of Interior's "Extremism" Directorate arrived at the activists' apartments at around half past six in the morning and broke down their doors, reports quoting the Other Russia's Press Secretary Aleksandr Averin. 

The searches in Nizhny Novgorod are being carried out in connection with events that took place on 15 September. On that day the police broke up an unsanctioned protest meeting on Svoboda Square. To add insult to injury Zaitseva was hit on the head with a truncheon by a riot police officer that day and hospitalised with concussion to the brain. "Now Article 318 (the use of force against a representative of the authorities) is being pinned on her. Just as it's done to swindlers, thieves and bandits," reports human rights activist Stanislav Dmitrievsky. Zaitseva was not at home at the time of the house search. Her husband Aleksandr was present. 

On 22 October, the Nizhny Novgorod department of the Investigative Committee reported that it had decided not to bring criminal proceedings with regard to the events of 15 September. "Orders to dismiss criminal proceedings were issued on account of the actions of the participants of the unsanctioned demonstration, one of whom removed a riot policeman's protective helmet and also on account of the fact that the participants received bodily injuries," the report states. 

Likewise, during their routine review officers of the regional Ministry of Internal Affairs found that their colleague had not committed any violations. "He exercised special measures (with a truncheon) in accordance with the law "On the police" in order to suppress an administrative violation", the regional department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs declared. 


According to its website the Investigative Committee carried out three new house searches in connection with a case of plotting mass disturbances in Russia. Investigators searched the apartments of three activists: Taisiya Aleksandrova, Anna Kornilova and Yury Nabutovsky. They are witnesses in the case being investigated. 

According to the investigation, in the spring of 2012 members of the opposition travelled to Lithuania to a seminar entitled "seizing power on the basis of the examples set by the colour revolutions." Previously, the Investigative Committee had announced that supporters of the figures implicated in the criminal case "underwent special training outside the Russian Federation on how to organise and carry out large scale disturbances in order to overthrow the state." has reported that several Russian activists did indeed travel abroad to a seminar in Latvia in February 2012. It was devoted to electoral observations. After the seminar Yury Seutin, one of the opposition activists, complained that he had been pressured by the FSB. According to him, FSB agents threatened to bring a case against him under Article 275 of the criminal code ("High treason"). 

Likewise, Anna Kornilova was at the same seminar as Solidarity activist Anastasia Rybachenko, who is facing proceedings in connection with the alleged disturbances on Bolotnaya Square. Currently Rybachenko is living in Talinn where she has won a place at a local university. 

The incitement to riot proceedings were brought as a result of materials aired by the documentary "Anatomy of a Protest - 2". Investigators assert that Russian opposition leaders Sergei Udaltsov, Leonid Razvozzhaev and Konstantin Lebedev travelled to Minsk in June 2012 to negotiate with Georgian politician Givi Targamadze about the financing of riots in the Russian Federation. 

Russian civil society activists and human rights defenders assert that the case has been fabricated and fear a new wave of political repressions in Russia as a result of it.