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September 14, 2013

The Bolotnaya case digest

Case of the Twelve

Lowly OMON officers who hardly remember anything

September 3 episode of the courtroom drama began with Yaroslav Belousov feeling sick. He had to be seen by emergency medical personnel, who determined that the sickness was caused by a spike in Yaroslav's blood pressure. Sleep deprivation is thought to be one of the likely causes.

Case of the Twelve

Lowly OMON officers who hardly remember anything

September 3 episode of the courtroom drama began with Yaroslav Belousov feeling sick. He had to be seen by emergency medical personnel, who determined that the sickness was caused by a spike in Yaroslav's blood pressure. Sleep deprivation is thought to be one of the likely causes.

Once the medics were had nished,  the court session began. Vladimir Akimenkov made an attempt to complain about conditions of his detention:  "I am happy to inform the court that I was allowed to shower yesterday — the rst time in two and a half weeks."
Judge conveniently ignored the good news on the grounds that detention conditions were not  relevant to the case at hand.

I’ve seen what I’ve seen, that’s what

OMON (special police force) ocer Alexander Algunov, whose testimony began last Thursday,  appeared in court once again. Earlier he testied that Sergei Krivov snatched the baton out of  his hand and proceeded to smash his wrist with the baton and a agpole. Along the way, he  was also “remembering” other defendants: Maria Baronova, who was “calling to something”,  Denis Lutskevitch… There was a chorus of defence attorneys protesting against the  identication procedure being conducted in the courtroom.
Apparently, Algunov managed to witness more of the mass riots than the rest of the police  ocers: namely “arsons and destruction of property“ as “people were hurling ares”.

According to the OMON ocer, he had arrested four people on May 6.

When questioning the ocer, Sergei Krivov’s defence attorney Vyacheslav Makarov carefully claried the details: how exactly the arrests were carried out, how the people involved were  interacting. After conrming with Algunov that he had no additional testimony, Makarov made a motion to change Algunov’s status from victim to witness, arguing that “there were no events involving both Algunov and Krivov”.

This motion nally prompted Algunov to describe his episode with Krivov. According to the 
OMON ocer, the police baton was hanging on his wrist by a strap. Krivov pulled it — having previously beaten Algunov with his sts and a agpole — and nally managed to snatch the baton away — hurting him by the strap — and passed the baton to someone in the crowd behind.

The testimony continued on Wednesday, September 4. Appearing impudent, the OMON ocer apparently did not feel obliged to provide any substantive answers.

— “Did you spot yourself in the video?”
— “Yes, I did.”
— “Where, and at which moment?”
— “At the same moment when I saw myself.”

When Sergei Krivov asked Algunov if he told  the court anything new, something he did not describe in prior interrogations included in the case materials, Algunov recommended to “have a look and compare”. Even judge Nikishina, known for her lenient treatment of prosecution witnesses and victims, unexpectedly demanded an answer to the question.

Approaching the end of his testimony, Algunov took the role of a judge, and started to reject “repetitive” questions. However, his own answers were often evasive: “look in the case materials”, “question is not clear”. When Sergei Krivov asked Algunov where the baton was hanging and how it was possible to be taken, the ocer replied with: “it was hanging where it was hanging, and what happened — happened”. Defendant then asked if he had to push his hand through the pipes of the metal barrier to reach the baton. Algunov replied: “That depends on where the baton was at the time”.

Following defence attorney Makarov’s motion, court allowed for the video of the episode in question to be played in the courtroom. Indeed, a man similar to Krivov in appearance, was shown standing, but not engaging in any aggressive actions or assaulting police. “The altercation was outside the shot.” — commented Algunov.

Defender Makarov asked Algunov if he managed to spot himself on that video.

— “Yes, I’ve seen myself somewhere there”
— “At which moment exactly?”
— “When I was there, that’s when.”

Algunov did not provide any details about the nature of his injuries. Sergey Krivov stated that according to a medical expert’s report, “there is no harm to health, or any incapacitation”, and the 9 days of sick leave was given to Algunov, based on his “subjective complaints”. He attempted to make a motion to correct the misclassication of the OMON ocer as a victim, but was forbidden to do so by the judge. Despite the order, Krivov continued speaking in parallel with the judge.

Judge Nikishina again threatened to switch to a ve-day weekly schedule. For defendants that would mean not be able to get enough sleep, and missing lunch ve days a week, instead of the current three. For the defence attorneys the new schedule would mean having to reject or postpone all other work. For non-prot organisations, covering legal bills from donations, 
the new schedule would mean having to seek additional funds and look for new defence 
attorneys. For Maria Baronova, who is under a travel ban, the new schedule would mean 
not being able to work or spend time with her son.

Let us just forget everything

Igor Tarasov, an injured Moscow OMON  ocer, started his testimony against Alexei Polikhovich on Thursday, September 5. However, Sergei Krivov persisted in his  multi-day attempts to make a motion. After the judge again refused to allow Krivov’s motion, he asked to be removed from the courtroom, stating: “I have no intentions to participate in these shambles”. Judge Nikishina granted his request, and Krivov was led out of the courtroom for the remainder of the session.

Prompted by prosecution, Tarasov immediately identied Polikhovich as his assailant. According to Tarasov, Polikhovich caught him by the hand, and interfered with the arrest of another protester. Polikhovich’s actions did not cause Tarasov any physical pain or psychological trauma. “Just discomfort: I slept apart from my wife for three nights”.

Akimenkov asked if Tarasov had any grievances against the defendants. Tarasov replied 
unceremoniously, similar to the the previous witness: “Good one – you’ll go far! I do not have any grievances”.

Igor Tarasov did not witness arsons or destruction of property on the square. He saw stones, bottles, and smoke bombs being thrown. He did not see protesters “picking at 
the pavement”. He said that he felt pity for the defendants, and that people happened to be 
“in the wrong place at the wrong time”. Summarizing the events of May 6, he stated: 
“I am a small OMON ocer, I could not see much”.

Tarasov also added that he was never stationed in police formations (“I cannot manage”), and that he did not arrest people who broke through police lines.

The court granted Aleksei Polikhovich’s request for Tarasov’s May 19 interrogation protocol to be read out in court, due to established inconsistencies. The protocol does not mention Polikhovich or any person pulling Tarasov by hand. At the time Tarasov stated: “No unlawful acts were committed against me”. However, Tarasov testied that he stood in formation and detained those who broke through police lines.

In an attempt to explain the inconsistencies, Tarasov decided to make a joke: “Let’s just forget the whole thing!” From his glass cage, Polikhovich replied: “Yes, I would be happy to!”. But Sergei Krivov – back in the courtroom – was not as generous: “Trade places with Polikhovich, and then we can ‘forget the whole thing’”.

Suddenly, Polikhovich stood up in the glass cage and asked: “Do you remember how you were apologizing to my lawyer for this testimony?”. The question was disallowed.

september 4
Moscow Copy-Paste Court
Moscow City Court arms continued detention of three defendants in the Bolotnaya case

Alexander Margolin, 41, has been under arrest since February 2013. Charges against him are typical for the Bolotnaya case: participation in mass riots and low-grade assault against a police officer. Alexander is married and has two daughters. He used to work as a Deputy Director at Mediacenter-ART publishing house. Between May 2012 and February 2013 Alexander was not called in for questioning and made no attempts to evade authorities.

Mikhail Kosenko has been in custody for 15 months. Experts from the Serbsky Institute have deemed him mentally impaired — a determination disputed by independent experts. As a result, his case is heard separately from the rest of the defendants.

Mikhail, like most other defendants, is charged with participation in mass riots and assault 
against a police ocer. In his case the assault is considered threatening to the life and health 
of the police ocer. In the video recording of the incident, Mikhail is seen standing motionless, while Maxim Luzyanin is allegedly assaulting a police ocer. Luzyanin has already been 
convicted, but in his case the assault was determined to have been NON-threatening to 
the life and health of the officer.

During the court hearing Mikhail Kosenko said that he is not receiving necessary medications and his condition is worsening. Kosenko is disabled; he has been battling a schizotypal disorder for years. He has been taking medication and keeping up regular visits with his doctor. However, during the hearing he was talking more about other defendants, than himself. “My co-defendants are the people with rare moral qualities. They should be released”.

Left Front coordinator Sergei Udaltsov, and another activist from the same organization – 
Leonid Razvozzhaev – are charged with organizing mass riots on May 6, 2012, and with 
attempting to provoke further unrest. According to government investigators, the activists 
accepted money from georgian MP Givi Targamadze in exchange for destabilizing the political situation in Russia.

In October 2012, after nding out about impending political persecution, Razvozzhaev ed to Ukraine and sought advice on political asylum from local UN representatives. According to 
Razvozzhaev, he was then abducted by unknown individuals and brought to Moscow. Two days later, Basmanny Court in Moscow placed him under arrest. After the hearing, Leonid 
managed to shout that he was kidnapped, according to LifeNews journalists. On the following day, the Investigative Committee of Russian Federation published Razvozzhayev’s confession, in which he admitted to organizing mass riots and receiving money from Givi Targamadze. Russian authorities rejected Razvozzhayev’s kidnapping accusations, asserting instead that he had a change of heart while in Kiev, repented, took a taxi and drove to the Investigative Committee in Moscow. Later, human rights activists have visited him in prison. He told them, that he was kidnapped, taken by car to Russia, bound, and received threats against his life and the life of his wife and children. Leonid Razvozzhayev has ocially retracted his confession. Leonid Razvozzhayev, 40, is married and has two children. He is an aide to the member of the Duma Ilya Ponomarev.

Margolin and Razvozzhayev will remain in detention until October 6, Kosenko — until October 22. Detention terms of Bolotnaya prisoners are routinely extended.

september 5
One year since Leonid Kovyazin's arrest

Leonid Kovyazin almost never stopped shooting video on Bolotnaya Square on 
May 6. Only a few video recordings and photos show Kovyazin supposedly pushing 
overturned portable toilets along the ground. He explained his actions during the trial: "Police started beating people, we anted to protect them [by constructing a barricade]".

The investigation deemed the act of moving the toilets unlawful, and Leonid was arrested in September 2012. Unlike many other defendants in the Bolotnaya case, he is only charged with participation in mass riots.

Leonid Kovyazin, soon 27, lived in Kirov and worked as a freelance journalist for 
Vyatsky Observer newspaper. He studied Philosophy and Culturology, protected animals, and was a theatre acionado.

At a collegiate theatre festival, Leonid met his future wife – Kirov Puppet Theatre actress 
Evgeniya Tarasova. They registered their marriage after the arrest: for many defendants 
marriage was the only possibility to receive visits by loved ones. The marriage ceremony took place at the pre-trial detention facility. Ocials provided only 10 minutes for the ceremony, and half an hour for the newlyweds to spend together afterwards, with metal bars between them.

Later Evgeniya became a public defender of her husband to have an opportunity to talk to him through a glass wall before and after the courtroom sessions.

september 5
No farewell permitted
Mikhail Kosenko’s mother dies without saying goodbye to her son

Mikhail Kosenko’s sister Ksenia Kosenko is currently seeking permission for her brother to attend the funeral, scheduled on September 10. She submitted a petition to Zamoskvoretskiy court.

Nina Vasilievna Kosenko (Mikhail and Ksenia’s mother) died at age 65. Several weeks ago, prison ocials censored Ksenia’s letter to Mikhail, in which she described their mother’s grave condition. Presumably, Mikhail still does not knowabout illness and subsequent death of Nina Vasilievna.

september 8 Sergei Krivov turns 52

Sergei Krivov, a member of the PARNASdemocratic party, is the oldest prisoner in Bolotnaya case. Before his arrest, Sergei regularly joined pickets in front of the Investigative Committee building to support political prisoners, participated in other protests, and was an election observer.

During the trial, Krivov has been tireless in challenging prosecution witnesses, ling petitions, 
sending requests to the Investigative Committee to call OMON ocers to account, boycotting the court, etc…

Sergei Krivov is accused of taking a police ocer’s baton and striking a police ocer’s hand. 
According to the prosecution,another police officer was injured after being pushed in the chest by Krivov (during the trial, the ocer testied that the push was so strong that he was forced to take a step back).

Krivov has a Ph.D in Physics and Mathematics. He worked as a sales manager. Sergei is married and has two children. Before his October 2012 arrest in connection with the Bolotnaya trial, he supported his 80-year-old mother. The Investigative Committee ocials decided that a person – heretofore seen carrying placards in front of their building on a weekly basis — is a strong ight risk and should be held in a detention facility.

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 ght 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 o ammo of a policeman and punched him.

About 600 people have been arrested, dozens were subjected to administrative arrest. The investigation classied 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! 🙂

6may.org [PDF]

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