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Activists Under House Arrest for Hoisting Ukraine Flag on Stalinist Building

Published: August 23, 2014 (Issue # 1825)



  • Alexei Shirokozhukhov, right, one of four climbers placed under house arrest on suspicion of attaching a Ukrainian flag to a Stalin-era skyscraper, during a hearing in a Moscow courtroom on Aug. 22.
    Photo: MSKAgency

All four activists accused of having scaled a Moscow skyscraper to attach a Ukrainian flag to its spire were placed under house arrest on Thursday and may face years in jail.

A Moscow court late on Thursday placed all four suspects — Alexander Pogrebov, Alexei Shirokozhukhov, Anna Lepeshkin and Evgeny Korotkov —under house arrest until Oct. 19.

According to the suspects' lawyer Sergei Badamshin, they stand accused of hooliganism and vandalism.

"House arrest. I'm glad they did not eat us," he wrote on his Twitter account.

Residents of Moscow's Taganka district woke up Wednesday morning to find a Ukrainian flag attached to the Soviet star on the spire of one of the area's iconic Stalin buildings.

The flag appeared atop the high-rise, one of the city's so-called "Seven Sisters," at about 7:15 a.m. and remained in place for at least three hours before authorities were able to remove it, the Interfax news agency reported, citing a source within the municipal emergency services.

Police said later Wednesday that they had opened a criminal case on vandalism charges and were questioning four suspects — two men and two women — in relation to the stunt, Interfax reported.

According to a preliminary police report, the culprits climbed the stairs to the top floor of the 32-story residential complex and then continued their ascent with the help of climbing equipment.

In addition to attaching the Ukrainian flag to the spire, the perpetrators also covered the Soviet-era star at the top of the building in blue and yellow paint — Ukraine's official colors — tabloid LifeNews reported.

A video captured by a local resident and published by LifeNews claims to show one of the suspected perpetrators escaping the scene of the stunt by parachuting off the building's roof.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop, 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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