Activists Under House Arrest for Hoisting Ukraine Flag on Stalinist Building
Published: August 23, 2014 (Issue # 1825)
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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