Protesters Picket against Expulsion of Finnish Citizen Antti Rautiainen from Russia

Source: (info), 12/04/12

· Persecution of activists  · Public protests  · Moscow city & Moscow region

On 11 April protesters in Moscow held a picket beside the Griboedov memorial on Chistoprudny Boulevard to protest against the annulment of a temporary Russian residence permit that had been granted to Antti Rautiainen, a Finnish citizen and member of the Moscow anarchist group Autonomous Action.

On 29 March 2012 the Russian Federal Migration Service ordered Rautiainen to leave the country within 15 days. Several dozen people—among them anarchists, socialists, human rights defenders and other activists—gathered at the rally with red and black flags and chanted slogans against the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB).

Irina Biryukova, an attorney with the non-profit organization Civic Assistance, who is representing Rautiainen in his litigation with the Federal Migration Service, told the rally’s organizers that officials from the Federal Migration Service had refused to give her a copy of the decision against which Rautiainen intends to appeal. At the Moscow headquarters of the Federal Migration Service, Biryukova was told that the specific reasons behind Rautiainen’s expulsion were presented by the FSB and constitute classified information. Because of the refusal, Biryukova must now file a complaint against the Moscow Federal Migration Service before she can appeal Rautiainen’s expulsion in court.

One of the picketers was Khimki forest activist Andrei Margulev, who has been a stateless person since he renounced his Russian citizenship 20 years ago. On 21 February 2012, the Moscow Federal Migration Service refused to reinstate his Russian citizenship on the grounds that, according to the FSB, he “promotes change to the foundation of Russia’s constitutional structure by force, and otherwise poses a threat to the security of the Russian Federation.” In the event that Margulev loses his case, he could be expelled from the country at any time.

The activist himself, being a native Muscovite, has no idea about where he would be sent.

Several right-wing soccer fans stood on the outskirts of the rally and attempted to provoke the picketers. They dispersed after seeing the photographer approach.

Photo-report of the picket rally

Annti Rautiainen is an activist with the anarchist movement and a member of the prisoner support group Anarchist Black Cross. He is an anti-militarist and a conscientious objector, and serves as one of the editors of the journal Avtonom. Rautiainen has taken active part in the street opposition protests of December 2011 – March 2012 and in anarchist initiatives. He has been detained by police on a number of occasions, but never charged for an offence under the administrative code. According to his friends and human rights defenders, the motives behind Rautiainen’s expulsion should be considered as nothing other than political repression.

Rautiainen has lived in Moscow since 1999. During 1999 - 2000 he studied at Moscow State University through a foreign exchange program for Finnish and Russian students. From 2000 – 2010, he studied at the People’s Friendship University of Russia, first in the department of physics, mathematics and life sciences, and later as a graduate student in the department of information technology. For the last two years, Rautiainen has been working as a computer programmer.

The Federal Migration Service informed Rautiainen that his temporary residence permit had been annulled on the basis of Article 1, Section 1, Sub-Section 1, of the Federal Law “On the Legal Status of Foreign Citizens in the Russian Federation” of 25 June 2012 (N115-FZ). The last states: “Permits for temporary residence for a foreign national will not be granted, and permits granted earlier will be annulled, in cases where the foreign national in question: 1) promotes change to the foundation of Russia’s constitutional structure by force and otherwise poses a threat to the security of the Russian Federation or to citizens of the Russian Federation.”