September 24, 2013

The Bolotnaya case digest No. 7 (September 09 – 15)

september 10 — september 12

Case of the 12: fifty shades of pain

Before the hearing started on Tuesday, September 10, visitors wished Sergei Krivov a happy birthday (Krivov turned 52 on Sunday), and then held a moment of silence to mourn the recent passing of Mikhail Kosenko’s mother.

The entire day was devoted to the testimony of junior police sergeant Andrei Emelianov, who is a key prosecution witness against Artem Savelov.

september 10 — september 12

Case of the 12: fifty shades of pain

Before the hearing started on Tuesday, September 10, visitors wished Sergei Krivov a happy birthday (Krivov turned 52 on Sunday), and then held a moment of silence to mourn the recent passing of Mikhail Kosenko’s mother.

The entire day was devoted to the testimony of junior police sergeant Andrei Emelianov, who is a key prosecution witness against Artem Savelov.

Andrei Emelianov

When interviewed by the prosecution for the first time, Emelianov stated that no illegal acts were committed against him, but during the second testimony he remembered clearly that is was Savelov who was trying to prevent him from arresting protesters by pulling them away. In total Emelianov had arrested three or four of the most active protesters, Savelov being one of them.

The police officer cannot identify any of the other arrestees, and hesitates when asked to recount the order in which arrests – including Savelov’s – were made. He claims to remember Savelov, but cannot recall whether Savelov had facial hair at the moment of the arrest.

According to the OMON officer’s testimony, protesters were being arrested for “disturbing the public order”. He struggled to remember the events precisely, but recalled some of

the chants: “To the Kremlin!”, “Down with the police state!”, “Putin is a thief”. He did not remember if Artem Savelov in particular was chanting, and suggested that “he did chant, while being arrested”. Defence attorney Farit Murtazin pointed out that Savelov suffers from a pronounced stutter, and thus has difficulty chanting anything (especially longer slogans, such as “Down with the police state!”).

The witness did not see protesters set anything on fire, smash shop windows or cars, damage property, or break apart pavement for use as projectiles. Neither were the protestors seen in possession of weapons or explosives. At the same time, according to Emelianov, a group of 100 -150 people defying police and chanting, qualified as “mass riots”.

Emelianov sustained no injuries, but he witnessed Savelov causing injury to his colleague Alexander Gogolev.

Alexander Gogolev

Police sergeant Gogolev testified the following day, September 11. Before the testimony, Sergei Krivov had time to complain that he was escorted to Mosgorsud (Moscow City Court) on Monday, when there was no hearing, and he had to stay there for more than 9 hours in a tiny cell. Judge Nikishina routinely advised the defendants

to direct complaints about the detention conditions to the jail officials.

In one of the earlier depositions, victim Golovlev describes his ordeal: Savelov “grabbed my right wrist with both hands and pulled; I experienced physical pain and even remember wincing as it was rather painful”. He was also emotionally abused: “I was fearing for my life” as “I could have been battered or even crippled”. He did not seek medical attention after the events, and the description of the alleged assault only appeared in the case materials after a marked delay. He did not mention any assaults in Artem’s detention report, and did not recall the episode in the initial depositions.

“He was actively trying to prevent me from arresting another protester: grabbed me by my wrist, tried to pull me into the crowd” – the victim said. According to Gogolev, Artem Savelov’s resistance consisted of “digging his heels into the ground and not following the officers willingly”. Gogolev remembered Savelov (unlike other people he arrested) because he “caused him pain”.

Judge Nikishina did not allow the defence to read out the transcripts of Golovlev’s earlier depositions and Savelov’s detention report.

Gogolev explained that they were ordered to look for and arrest activists calling to march to the Kremlin and chanting anti-government slogans: “This is our city”, “Putin, ski to Magadan”.

However, he did not see any protesters attempt arson, damage property, hurl pieces of asphalt, or carry weapons. Those arrested, were “disobeying lawful police orders” (in particular, breaking through a police line), and “moving towards the Kremlin”.

Evgeny Bezdetkov

Evgeny Bezdetkov, an injured Moscow OMON officer and a prosecution witness, appeared before the court on Thursday. According to case materials, he also experienced physical pain, caused by a flying rock hitting him on a finger. Bezdetkov explains, that at the time of injury,
he was holding his colleague Alexander Algunov, who also testified at this trial, by his body armor to prevent his from being pulled into the crowd. Sergei Krivov asked if Bezdetkov held on to the neck opening in the body armor. After Bezdetkov’s affirmative answer, Krivov inquired about the possible trajectory that the rock could have taken. Judge Nikishina disallowed the question.

According to Bezdetkov, his hand “became swollen, and started to bleed”, but emergency medical personnel just cleaned up his finger with hydrogen peroxide and bandaged it.

Bezdetkov did not see who threw the stone, and does not have any grievances against the defendants. Defence motion to change the status of the latest in a series of injured “by persons unknown”, from victim to witness, was denied.

Bezdetkov he did not see any protesters attempt arson, damage property, hurl pieces of asphalt, or carry weapons on May 6, 2012. He explained that the only people arrested were the “unruly ones”, who shouted slogans and hurled insults at the police. Bezdetkov has no clear recollection of why specific individuals were arrested, and openly admitted to not filling out detention reports, and not knowing if any such reports were eventually written up.

september 9
No indulgence — even for funerals

Judge does not allow Mikhail Kosenko to attend his mother's funeral

Zamoskvoretskiy Court judge Liudmila Moskalenko explained her decision by lack of precedent, and "mental incompetence" of Kosenko, who is a "danger to himself and others".

It is worth pointing out, that Mikhail Kosenko has been sharing a cell with other detainees, and getting on without becoming involved in any conflicts. He was declared mentally incompetent and unable to take responsibility for his actions by experts from the Serbsky institute, who have changed his diagnosis to a more severe one (from mild schizophrenia to paranoid schizophrenia).

According to his medical history, Mikhail's illness manifests as episodes of depression, apathy, emotional alienation, and elevated attention to personal hygiene. Aggressive behavior or diminished intelligence are not among the symptoms. Witnesses describe Kosenko’s conduct during the trial as very competent, and his questions as appropriate.

As for precedent, the European Court of Human Rights has already taken several decisions that prisoners and detainees have the right to a last visit to severely ill relatives, and a right
to attend their funerals. In particular, National Bolshevik activist Vladimir Lind has won a case in the European Court – he was not allowed to attend his father's funeral in Netherlands (At the time, Vladimir Lind was under arrest for participating in a takeover of the presidential administration reception hall. In 2004 about 40 people brandishing the Russian Constitution, entered the reception hall, demanded an audience with President Putin, locked the doors, and tossed leaflets out of the windows).

As previously reported, Mikhail Kosenko did not receive the letter from his sister with the description of his mother’s grave condition. After Mikhail’s mother passed away, Ksenia was still not allowed to talk to her brother. Mikhail eventually learned about his mother's death from television news.

The "Public Verdict" organization intends to appeal the denial of Kosenko’s request to attend his mother's funeral in the European Court.

september 11
Anastasia Rybachenko turns 22

Anastasia (Nastya) has been able to avoid prison so far.

After the events of May 6, she was arrested and detained for 5 days. When she got out, she took
the battery out of her cell phone to avoid being traced, and soon left the country. It turned out to have been a good move. Arrests in connection with Bolotnaya case started just a couple of weeks later. There was no chance government investigators would overlook a lively "girl with a bullhorn".

Rybachenko's apartment was searched in July 2012. In October 2012, she was officially placed on the federal wanted list based on charges of participation in mass riots.

Nastya chose not to ask for political asylum, but enrolled in Tallinn Technical University in Tallinn, Estonia. Her political activities got her expelled from the Moscow college that she attended for four years. In Tallinn Anastasiya makes a living teaching Russian, working on temporary research projects and serving as an interpreter.

Nastya was an active participant in democratic opposition since she was seventeen. She headed the Youth Committee of Moscow "Solidarity" movement and was known to be one of the most fearless activists. She was up for anything, whether it was hanging banners across the street from Kremlin, taking part in sanctioned and unsanctioned demonstrations, or exposing election falsifiers.

Anastasiya has been outspoken about her dream of coming back to Russia, which is not possible as long as the Bolotnaya case is still open.

september 11

A letter from prison

Mikhail Khodorkovsky wrote a letter of support addressed to the Prisoners of Bolotnaya

My friends!

I daresay I understand better than anyone else just what you are now feeling, having found yourselves and your lives being ground by the wheels of our shameless and merciless "judicial and law enforcement" system.

All of us, I believe, have read our share of detective novels in our time, or watched crime series, where the law and justice always triumph in the end, even if certain evil individuals appear, only to personify an instructive exception.

My greatest shock, as I remember, was to discover that in the eyes of that person who was posing as the judge at my trial, if I may it put it this way, I was something of a subhuman, a kind of villain or a Roman slave; with the "master" in uniform being generally not burdened with the need to provide any proof for his claims, whereas my words were heard out with utter condescendence and contempt, as if undeserving of attention.

I am not even talking about such complicated matters as presumption of innocence, interpretation of any dubious facts and allegations in favor of the accused, etc. etc, here. These people simply do not care about the legitimacy of their actions.

Yet what hurts the most is the plain refusal to regard you as a human being, an equal, who speaks the truth simply because it is the right thing to do.

All of this simply needs to be endured, without unnecessary fuss or distress, with a clear understanding that what we are facing here is not criminal justice but a repressive machine into which we are being fed much like raw material. The mastermind behind it all never shows up in the courtroom but we all know who he is.

What we can and must do is show the people, and the country, that this machine has no human dignity – something that we, on the contrary, have in abundance. This means that sooner or later – but most likely, quite soon now – this machine will be broken up for spare parts, assuming that any of those parts – apart from the buildings – can be of any use.

But you will endure, I know it. And your parents, friends, followed by your children and grandchildren, will be proud of you!

Yours truly, Mikhail Khodorkovsky


Former co-owner of Yukos oil company Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been serving a prison term since 2003, together with his business partner Platon Lebedev. In 2005 they were found guilty of fraud, tax evasion, and illegal actions during the privatisation. Yukos was then made bankrupt and broken up for the benefit of Rosneft. In 2009 Khodorskovsky and Lebedev were charged with stealing all oil produced by Yukos between 1998 and 2003 (taxes on which they had been evading, according to their first indictment). The new sentence was 14 years, later being revised down to 11 (the term is due to expire in April 2014). A third criminal prosecution against Khodorkovsky is rumored to have been planned. He is considered to be a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International.

september 12

Pressure went off-scale

Yaroslav Belousov in prison hospital due to blood pressure problems

Belousov has been undergoing treatment since September 6, and was finally able to get enough sleep, according to his lawyer Ekaterina Goryaynova. Nevertheless, he attends the courtroom sessions. Last week, an ambulance had to called after Belousov felt sick in the courtroom because of a vegetative-vascular dystonia attack.

Yaroslav is 22, he is married and has a two-year-old son. He attends Moscow State University, majoring in Political Science. He has been in jail since
June 2012. He is accused of throwing “an undetermined yellow spherical object” (apparently a lemon, based on the video) towards the police.

september 13
Another witness didn't see Kosenko

OMON officer Roman Puzikov testified in Zamoskvoretskiy court. The police officer was expected to recount the alleged assault against his colleague Alexander Kazmin, but it turned out that Puzikov did not witness the events in question. According to his testimony, he came to the scene only after Kazmin, who lost his equipment in the brawl with the protesters, was battered and needed help. Puzikov does not remember any of the people who were around at the time.

The prosecutor had to remind the witness: “You did look at the shots during the deposition, and marked people you remembered with circles…”. “Yes, I did”

— admitted Puzikov. He also revealed that he was not acquainted with Kazmin prior to the deposition.

As for Mikhail Kosenko, Puzikov testified in a deposition that he saw and remembered
a man in a red shirt, who is also seen in the video.
In the courtroom Puzikov testified that he did not remember anyone involved. In the end, he did not witness the scuffle at all – neither with Kosenko’s involvement, nor without.

After the testimony, the prosecution decided to play two video sequences in order to examine the evidence. The video was demonstrated on a small laptop computer, that could only be seen by the attorneys. Mikhail, the judge, and the observers were not able to see this video evidence. Furthermore, judge Moskalenko did not show any interest in seeing the video, and did not ask for the computer monitor to be turned towards her. According to the defense, the video shows Mikhail Kosenko moving in the crowd, but does not show him assaulting anyone.

This concluded the presentation of evidence by the prosecution.

Alexander Kazmin, a victim in Kosenko’s case, testified in Zamoskvoretskiy court in July. He explained that he did not see his assailants since he was knocked off his feet. He saw a person in a red shirt (Mikhail Kosenko) in the crowd. However, Kazmin had to confess, that he had noticed Kosenko for the first time only when watching the video, and that he could not tell if Kosenko did in fact strike him, and that he does not have any grievances against Mikhail.

OMON officers Sanaev and Lukyanov, who arrested Kosenko, testified during a closed court session in June. There was no official decision to conduct a closed court session, but the bailiff referred to a verbal order by the judge as a basis for denying observers entry into the courtroom.

Meanwhile, according to the attorneys, neither Maxim Sanaev nor Roman Puzikov had witnessed the scuffle that left Kazmin battered. Sergei Lukyanov did witness the assault. During his first deposition, he described at least three people, who were assaulting the OMON officer. None of the people described bear any resemblance to Kosenko. At the confrontation Lukyanov positively identified Kosenko as one of the assailants. However, in the courtroom, he was not able to explain which of his statements are to be believed, or to describe the exact nature of Kosenko’s actions: “moved his hands in the direction of Kazmin”.


What is the case of Bolotnaya?

May 6, 2012 on the eve of the third

inauguration of Vladimir Putin the opposition got an approval from Moscow authorities to hol a march on the Bolshaya Yakimanka and a rally in Bolotnaya square for 5,000 people. In reality, about 50,000 people came to the demonstration.

Peaceful march at the entrance to Bolotnaya square ran into a police chain, which had made the passage to the place of a rally extremely narrow. After an hour
of standing in the rising hustle, people broke through the chain. Police launched arrests with the use of batons, pain and choke holds. Around this time, an unknown person threw a Molotov cocktail, causing the pants of one of the demonstrators started burning.

Arrests and beatings occurred in a random order. Most of the demonstrators could not leave the Bolotnaya square, as it is located on the bank of the river, and the bridge was crowded with people. People tried to fight back, usually, in adequate and non-hazardous ways (like throwing empty plastic bottles). There were, however, occasional outbreaks of serious aggression against the police: for example, several people took off ammo of a policeman and punched him.

About 600 people have been arrested, dozens were subjected to administrative arrest. The investigation classified the incident as organized riots.

Only one of the accused of involvement in the riots, Maxim Lusyanin, hoping for a light sentence, admitted his guilt (heproved himself of being himself in an big strong man in a black mask, who was beating a policeman) and received 4.5 years of general regime penal colony.

Now 15 people are under arrest in charge of involvement in the riots, two are under house arrest, 6 people are under written undertaking not to leave the place (4 of which were not even at Bolotnaya Square on the May 6, and were detained at another opposition campaign on Manezhnaya Square). An activist of the "Solidarity" movement Anastasia Rybachenko left Russia and is studying in Estonia.

In October the investigation accused Sergei Udaltsov, Leonid Razvozzhaev and Konstantin Lebedev in organizing mass riots.

ATTENTION! You can write letters to Bolotnaya defendants. Words of support are very important to them. You can write to bolotdigest@gmail.com, please do not forget to write your name and the name of the intended recipient. We will translate your letters from English to Russian, and forward them to the defendants held in detention facilities. We also can hand your messages to relatives of the defendants who are held under house arrest. Unfortunately, at the moment we can only accommodate translations from English.

We can also assist in contacting people involved with the trial, who are under a travel ban or have emigrated. Feel free to reach out to them directly as well! 🙂

If you want to be informed about the events of the Bolotnaya case, please

let us know at bolotdigest@gmail.com Read twitter.com/May6Committee 

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