Russia: police search Kirov anti-fascists' homes in trumped-up case

At six in the morning of November 27, a series of searches at homes of
eight members of anarchist group Autonomous Actions were carried out in
the Russian city of Kirov by police officers who were accompanied by
operatives of the anti-extremism E Centre. Officers seized all computer
equipment, such as system units and printers, as well as music CDs and

Such a large-scale co-ordinated action against anarchists was conducted
under pretext of investigation of a criminal case, started in autumn
2011 under Article 282 of the Russian Criminal Code (incitement of
hatred or hostility, or abasement of human dignity) against organisers
of a picket, which demanded that local authorities withdraw a permit for
the nationalist Russian March.

The activists are suspected of distributing extremist leaflets calling
for violence against neo-Nazis on the night before the picket. However,
as materials in the case indicate, the leaflets are a provocation
organised by neo-Nazis. The provocative leaflets were immediately
denounced on the website of the anti-fascist organisation Open City,
however, anti-fascists, who removed as many leaflets as they could, are
still treated as suspects in the case.

It has to be noted that investigation of the case is moving in
unpredictable leaps and bounds. Suspects and witnesses in the case were
interviewed only half a year after it was initiated. After that the case
obviously stalled, and only made its next spurt now.

Such burst of activity of E Centre officers can hardly be explained by
the objective need to investigate the 2011 case. If the anti-extremist
officers were indeed interested in finding real perpetrators of the
alleged crime, they could have conducted interviews and searches much
earlier. Looking for evidence one year after the crime was commited is
hardly the best possible strategy.

Much more believeable is another version: the E Centre officers decided
to demonstrate for their commanding officers how active and useful for
society they are, as the unit faces staff cuts. The head of main
interior directorate for Kirov Region, Sergey Solodovnikov, has
reportedly said about a month ago that the current staff of 28 officers
are too many for the E Centre. It appears that the entire staff of the E
Centre was deployed to lead the searches, which were all carried out
simultaneously. Three to four E Centre officers took part in most of the

None of the eight people whose homes were searched on Novembeer 27 was
issued with summons but they were told they would be invited for
interviews over phone or by a written notice. "As I understand, some
further actions, such as interviews and such, are planned to deal with
items seized during searches but there's no doubt that nothing extremist
was discovered, no copies of that leaflet in particular," said Anton
Cherepov, an activist with the Autonomous Action in Kirov.

It is hard to make predictions concerning further events yet but two
main options seem plausible. The E Centre officers can calm down after
their commanding officers registered a burst of activity, and leave the
criminal case in peace. Or we can expect a repeat of the Nizhny Novgorod
scenario and the RASH-Antifa case, which was roughly trumped up by the E
Centre officers against local anti-fascists and anarchists and then
pretty much fell apart in court.

In any case, such dubious activity by the Kirov anti-extremist officers
is highly symptomatic for Russia's entire law-enforcement system. At the
moment, a practical and legal basis is being created for functioning of
a complicated system of repression, in which freedom of any activist or
dissident is under threat.

By Autonomous Action - Kirov, Nov. 27, 2012


Posted By

Nov 29 2012 00:10



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