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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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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Jan. 28



Feel like becoming a publishing mogul? Stop by the Freedom anti-cafe at 7 Ulitsa Kazanskaya today at 8 p.m. where Simferopol, Crimea-based founder and chief editor of the Holst online magazine will talk about creating an internet magaine, including what stories to cover, how find an audience and build a team, where to find inspiration and how to stand out from the crowd. Admission is the normal price of the anti-café — 2 rubles per minute, which includes tea and snacks.



Learn everything you always wanted to know about wine, and perhaps a bit more, at the Le Nez du Vin seminar for wine lovers. Held at the WineJet Sommelier School, 100 Bolshoy Prospekt Petrograd Side, at 7:30 p.m., the event will cover wine production, the basics of wine tasting, the concept of terroir and the various countries where wine is produced. Tickets are 750 rubles and include a wine tasting. Register by calling +7 921 744 6264.



Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous’ in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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