Andrei Pivovarov: "I am very surprised by President Putin's statement about my case.”

posted 7 Oct 2015, 10:43 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 7 Oct 2015, 11:57 ]
2 October 2015

Source: (info)
Civil society activist and co-chair of the St. Petersburg branch of PARNAS, Andrei Pivovarov, was surprised by Russian President Putin's statement about his prosecution in Kostroma.

In an interview with, he expressed his hope that the Investigative Committee would be able to sort everything out and that the President's statement would not prevent it reaching an independent judgement.

Pivovarov said he did not expect to get an assessment of his case at such a high level.

“I can honestly say that I was very surprised by the President’s statement. I had not at all expected to be able to watch a discussion of my case at this level,” Pivovarov told “But the situation continues to be absolutely clear to me: I gave no bribes, and neither I nor the police officer intend to give false testimony against ourselves. None of the things about which the President spoke actually happened.”

At a session of the Human Rights Council on 30 September 2015 the President let it be understood that he was well informed about the details of the case against Pivovarov. “He went into the data base and paid money for it, that’s a bribe. The police officer has testified about the offence,” Pavel Chikov, chair of the Agora Human Rights Association quoted the President as saying.

Andrei Pivovarov hopes that Putin’s statement won’t influence the course of the case.

“Of course, taking into account that in our country the power vertical is very strong and pressure is put on local authorities, a statement of this kind by the President gives grounds for concern. I hope that the investigative authorities will sort it all out and discover for themselves that none of the things about which the President spoke happened,” Andrei Pivovarov told

According to Pivovarov, Putin's statement was not necessarily provoked by the desire of the investigation to salvage a case that had been trumped up from the very beginning.

Andrei Pivovarov commented, “We are responsible people and not fools. It’s not necessary to engage in such a distortion of the facts. I don’t think it’s worth saying my case is so flimsy that it required the intervention of the President. Most likely, it was someone’s eagerness to report on work done. Of course, I was surprised by the format of the comment. Usually comments are limited to the statement that ‘the investigators will sort things out, the court will decide.' But here the charges against me were virtually cited in full.”

Andrei Pivovarov and police officer, Aleksei Nikanorov, were arrested in Kostroma on the night of 28th July 2015. According to information supplied by law enforcement agencies, Pivovarov, who was chief of staff of the Democratic Coalition in the elections to the legislative assembly of Kostroma region, decided to check the validity of signatures collected. To do this, he allegedly illegally used a police database. After his arrest, the police officer, Aleksei Nikanorov, confessed to the charges, but, later during an interrogation on 31st July, he denied them.

In mid-August, in Kostroma Andrei Pivovarov was charged under two articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation "Illegal access to computer information" (Article 272, Part 3, of the Criminal Code) and "Incitement to abuse of office" (Article 33, Part 4; Article 286, Part 1, of the Criminal Code). Aleksei Nikanorov was charged with ‘abuse of office’ ( Article 286, Part 1). Kostroma court ruled that Nikanorov and Pivovarov be remanded in custody for two months.

Andrei Pivovarov was released on 28th September from Kostroma pre-trial detention centre. Sverdlovsk district court in Kostroma found no grounds for keeping Pivovarov in detention and ordered his release on bail of one million roubles. Funds were provided by Open Russia on Saturday, 26th September 2015.

Translated by Graham Jones