Scandal: how prosecutors and police fought to stop screening of Wajda’s Katyn

posted 30 Nov 2015, 05:40 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 30 Nov 2015, 05:44 ]
27 November 2015

Source: (info)
The evening of 26th November 2015 saw a continuation in the story of the Ministry of Culture’s efforts to stop a public screening by the NGO Memorial Research & Information Centre of the film “Khatyn” [as in the Ministry’s official warning]. A whole unit of police, with the assistant prosecutor for the central district of St Petersburg at their head, arrived at the NGO.
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Today at 18.40, Vladislav Dmitrievich Platonov, assistant prosecutor for the central district of St Petersburg, arrived at the premises of the Memorial Research & Information Centre, accompanied by seven police officers, including the senior officer, police lieutenant Oleg Aleksandrovich Agnaev.

The law enforcement officers were trying to make sure that no offence was being committed in the building and that no public screening of the film without a distribution certificate was going to take place (these were the words of the assistant prosecutor Platonov, as reported by volunteers from the Memorial Research & Information Centre).

V.D. Platonov did not present any kind of authorisation for carrying out the search or check and said he had learned of the planned screening of the film from public sources.

He cited the letter from the Ministry of Culture, which, according to him, had been received by Memorial Research & Information Centre. ‘Here an event is being conducted by an organisation that has been designated a foreign agent, whose activities had “forbidden”,’ the lawyer and prosecutor reasoned.

Volunteers from Memorial Research & Information Centre also reminded Mr V.D. Platonov that he was probably confusing two different registers held by the Ministry of Justice: the so-called ‘foreign agent’ register of NGOs which, according to the Ministry of Justice, carry out the functions of ‘foreign agents’; and the ‘list of organisations recognised as terrorist by the Supreme Court of Russia’, in which the Memorial Research & Information Centre is not listed.

The assistant prosecutor agreed and asked to be shown the premises.

The volunteers warned the assistant prosecutor and police that there was nobody from the management, founders or staff of the Memorial Research & Information Centre on the premises, and they were not authorised to show them round the premises or to answer any questions.

Assistant prosecutor Platonov demanded that he be shown documents by virtue of which the volunteers were on the premises.

The volunteers replied that they had no access to the documents of the NGO and therefore could not show him their contracts as volunteers.

Platonov demanded the documents be presented: “Perhaps, then you are thieves. On what grounds are you here?”

After being shown the residence registration in Novosibirsk of one of the volunteers, Evgeniya Kulakova, V.D. Platonov was very happy. “We are a city of federal significance. Well, then show me your ticket, and when did you come here?” Evgeniya Kulakova showed her temporary residence registration in St Petersburg.

“We took the assistant prosecutor to the room where the board of founders holds its meetings. This is the public meeting room belonging to Memorial Research & Information Centre, and we did not show either him or the police anything else,” Evgenia Kulakova told Сogita!ru.

Having seen with their own eyes that there were no attempts to screen any films on the premises (the Joffe Fund had previously announced to the media and on social networks about the postponement of the screening of Andrzej Waida’s Katyn), the prosecutor and accompanying police officers demanded to be allowed into other areas of the office.

“After our refusal the police officers used physical force against one of our volunteers and had a look around other rooms. After which they left,” Memorial Research & Information Centre announced on Facebook.

Source: Cogita

Translated by Frances Robson