In Absentia

Victor Bogorad, “Trial in Absentia,” October 20, 2015. Courtesy of Cartoon Movement

Ilya Shepelin
October 21, 2016

My morning has begun with a call from Ksenia Babich. At dawn, a band of investigators from the Investigative Committee forced their way into her flat.

They are searching the flat in connection with a case against Artyom Skoropadsky, press secretary of the Right Sector, an organization banned in Russia. Mr. Skoropadsky studied at Moscow State University’s journalism department, but now he is unlikely to return to Russia. Nevertheless, the Investigative Committee is putting together another trial where the accused will be tried in absentia. (Such trials, in which there no defendant in the courtroom, but he or she is meted out a harsh sentence, are no longer uncommon in Russia.) So they need evidence, and have now found their way to Ksenia, who was in the same year at the journalism department as Skoropadsky. So a dozen investigators, putting aside all their other work, pounded on her door at six in the morning.

For Ksenia, these events are sad, above all, because her computer, telephone, and any other electronic devices found in the flat will be confiscated as evidence. And of course, as particularly valuable physical evidence, they are unlikely to be returned.

There’s another cute particular. Ksenia managed to write a post about [the search] on Facebook, but, hot on her heels, a particularly resourceful officer confiscated her phone and deleted the post : – )

Olya Osipova and I are now headed to Ksenia’s place. Friends and acquaintances are invited to join us.

Since the prudent investigators deleted Ksenia’s post about the search, please press “Like” and “Share.” We need to give those geezers a little something to smile about.

Ilya Shepelin is a reporter at Takie Dela, an online magazine and charitable foundation. Ksenia Babich is press officer at the Russian Justice Initiative. Translated by the Russian Reader. Thanks to Comrade AK for the heads-up

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