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Local Activist Charged in Bolotnaya Case

Published: May 28, 2014 (Issue # 1813)



  • Polina Strongina, right, at a Strategy 31 rally held on Nevsky Prospekt on May 31, 2010.
    Photo: Sergey Chernov / SPT

Opposition activist Polina Strongina was charged with participating in mass riots in the politically motivated Bolotnaya Square case — the anti-Putin protest on Bolotnaya Ploshchad in Moscow two years ago — in St. Petersburg Monday.

Strongina, who is the first person in St. Petersburg to be charged as part of the Bolotnaya Square case, now faces three to eight years in prison.

Strongina, an activist with the opposition liberal youth movement Vesna (Spring), was detained at around 6:40 a.m. on Monday, at her partner’s apartment and taken to an apartment in another district where she was registered and where her parents lived, her partner, Grigory Kopp, told The St. Petersburg Times.

After the apartment had been searched, she was taken to the offices of the counter-extremism Center E on 8 Ruzovskaya Ulitsa, where she was questioned over the course of eight hours until 4:15 p.m. Strongina’s lawyer was not let into the building.

“The officer on duty said that it was beyond his competence, that he did not know anything and that it was an investigation team from Moscow that was working,” Kopp said.

Meanwhile, Strongina’s fellow activists held a series of one-man pickets outside passing a poster saying “Freedom to Polina Strongina” to each other.

According to Kopp, she was released on the conditions that she not leave the city and will behave in an orderly manner.

Footage from the rally showing Strongina throwing a plastic bottle in the direction of the police was given as evidence, local media reports said. The police seized the coat she wore and the rucksack she had at the rally as well as her laptop and a flash drive, Novaya Gazeta reported, quoting Strongina’s mother.

The Investigation Committee said that she was identified by a witness and “partly confessed” to the offence during the interrogation.

Further in the statement, it said that the investigators intended to find and hold accountable “any and all organizers, participants of mass riots and individuals who used violence against the authorities on Bolotnaya Square in Moscow on May 6.”

Speaking to The St. Petersburg Times on Monday, Strongina said she was made to sign a non-disclosure agreement, which prevented her from revealing any specifics about the search and interrogation.

She said she was taken aback at the raid and interrogation and wanted to discuss the situation with her lawyer.

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