Separatism Charges Filed against Municipal Deputy in Karelia
July 31, 2015
Criminal charges have been filed against Vladimir Zavarkin, a municipal deputy in the Karelian town of Suojärvi, as reported by Guberniya Daily on Thursday. Under Article 280.1, Part 1 of the Russian Federal Criminal Code, the deputy faces up to four years in prison.
Guberniya Daily notes that Zavarkin has already given testimony in the case on four occasions. According to the article, he is being defended by a court-appointed lawyer.
At the same time, it is reported that the deputy has filed a complaint with the Russian Investigative Committee in connection with the criminal charges and is preparing an appeal to the Security Council.
Charges were filed against Zavarkin after his speech at a rally on May 20 in Petrozavodsk calling for the resignation of Alexander Hudilainen, Head of the Republic of Karelia. Over two thousand people attended the rally.
Zavarkin described the difficult social and economic situation in Suojärvi and harshly criticized Hudilainen.
He concluded his short speech with the words, “If the Russian Federation does not hear us, we will hold a referendum, I think. [If] Russia does not need Karelia, let’s separate.”
Vladimir Zavarkin’s speech at May 20, 2015, rally in Petrozavodsk, the capital of the Republic of Karelia
A day earlier, Zavarkin had posted a film about the situation in the Suojärvi District on the Vkontakte community page ”Hudilainen Resign!” The annotation to the film quotes Zavarkin’s statement in the film: “I appeal to the people of Finland and the Baltic countries: help us by sending humanitarian aid. You also have relatives in Karelia. Otherwise, we will all die out!”
Zavarkin sits on the Suojärvi Municipal Council’s committee for social issues, public order, and housing and public utilities.
Translated by the Russian Reader
- “New (Separatist) Comintern Slouches towards Moscow,” The Russian Reader, September 16, 2015
- Gleb Yarovoy, “Separatism? Karelian deputy accused of publicly calling for separatism,” 7×7, August 5, 2015 (in Russian)