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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

Wednesday, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of today’s seminar is “Grammar Practice.”


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at “Professional Growth,” a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmCham’s Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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