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Leningrad Blockade Survivor Arrested, Fined For Anti-War Protest

Published: March 9, 2014 (Issue # 1800)



  • Local activist, Igor "Stepanych" Andreyev.
    Photo: Sergey Chernov / For SPT

Russian police detained a 75-year-old survivor of the Nazi siege of Leningrad and fined him 10,000 rubles ($275) for attending an anti-war rally and holding a sign that read "Peace to the World, while a pro-Kremlin lawmaker reportedly called him a supporter of "fascism."

The activist, Igor Andreyev, was detained at a protest in St. Petersburg against Russia's dispatch of troops to the Crimea. Police held him in custody for nearly 24 hours, before releasing him on Wednesday and ordering him to pay a fine, Novaya Gazeta reported.

Related: Anti-War Protest Leads to Arrests, Violence

Andreyev said he was first accosted by a local lawmaker from the pro-government United Russia party, Vitaly Milonov, who tore a placard that the activist had brought to the rally from his hands, ripped it apart and threw the pieces into a trash can.

"I was telling him that I was a child of the siege, that I know what war is like," Andreyev said.

"Milonov responded: 'You have been reborn, you are supporting fascism.' What does he know about fascism?" Andreyev said.

Related: Local Protesters Acquitted in Maidan Event

During World War II, the German army cut off Leningrad — now called St. Petersburg — from Russian lines for 872 days, and hundreds of thousands of people died as famine gripped the city.

"I was four years old, but I remember how buildings crumbled, how we suffered in bomb shelters," Andreyev said.

He said he then took a placard with the handwritten words "Peace for the World" from a woman who seemed too shy to hold up the sign. It was a small and naive placard, he said, similar to what Soviet-era children wrote in elementary school classes.

"I unfolded the placard, and immediately the Omon [riot police] ran up to me, took me by the arms and led me to the police bus," Andreyev said.

After Novaya Gazeta reported that a 10,000 ruble fine was levied on the retiree, who lives on a 6,500-ruble monthly pension, many readers offered to pay the fine, the newspaper said.

Andreyev thanked readers for their support but declined the money, saying he did not want to create the impression that he was getting money for participating in anti-war protests.

Russian officials have accused the West of bankrolling anti-government protests in Ukraine that led to the ouster of former President Viktor Yanukovych in February.

"Every time they take me to the bus with the other detainees, they ask me: 'How much did they pay you, old man?'" he said. "I don't want to give them any grounds to think I might take money."





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during today’s Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the center’s Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonight’s performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Center’s Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodina’s website for more details.



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