Breaking Bad with the FSB

ae8d99e04e9a4f73aaeff376d2df1ed5The Russian Federal Security Service or FSB enjoys breaking doors down in its pursuit of fictitious “extremists” and “terrorists.” Photo courtesy of Pinterest

The FSB Breaks Left
A second anarchist from the mythical organization The Network (Set’) has been remanded to police custody at the request of counterintelligence. Viktor Filinkov and Igor Shiskin are suspected of planning an armed insurrection to seize power
Alexander Yermakov
Fontanka.ru
January 27, 2018

The purge of the anarchist movement in Petersburg is due to no more and no less than alleged plans to violently overthrow Vladimir Putin. This is the background the FSB has invoked as it has arrested the young men. They are accused of involvement in a terrorist association about which the courts, the Justice Ministry, and the National Anti-Terrorist Committee have never heard. 

Anarchist Igor Shishkin was sent to the remand prison on Shpalernaya Street in Petersburg on the evening of January 27. He was detained two days earlier by FSB officers, taken to their regional headquarters on Liteiny Prospect, and interrogated for nearly twenty-four hours, except for short breaks. His interrogators focused on Shishkin’s involvement in the anarchist movement and alleged plans for violent acts whose objective was overthrowing the current government through an armed insurrection.

As someone suspected of involvement in a terrorist network (Criminal Code Article 205.4 Part 2), the 26-year-old Shishkin was detained only this morning. After Petersburg’s Dzerzhinsky District made its ruling, he joined Viktor Filinkov, a 23-year-old programmer and Kazakhstani national, who had been remanded to police custody a day earlier, in the remand prison.

According to investigators, Shiskin, Filinkov, and unidentified persons who espoused the anarchist ideology were involved, allegedly, in the so-called Field of Mars (aka Mars) branch of the terrorist organization The Network no later than August 2016. Their purpose was to plan crimes and engage in terrorist activists that the Criminal Code defines quite clearly: the violent seizure of power and armed insurrection.

There is no mention of The Network (Set’) on the web, unless, of course, you do not count the eponymous organization set up by the pro-Kremlin youth organization Nashi. You will also not be able to find The Network in official documents. The Unified Federal List of Terrorist Organizations, as established by court rulings, contains twenty-seven organizations, including foreign and international organizations, but you will not find The Network on the list, a list that is published, in particular, on the websites of the FSB and the National Anti-Terrorist Committee.

Fontanka.ru has learned that the Petersburg anarchists were detained due to possible links with the failed albeit highly publicized “revolution of November 5, 2017,” as promised by Vyacheslav Maltsev, leader of the banned movement Artillery Barrage (Artpodgotovka).

Residents of Russian cities were urged to engage in mass protests. Most of the oppositionists were detained preventively two days before the event. The day passed peacefully in Petersburg, except for the comic arrest of a pacifist in a car chockablock with weapons, and a small gathering near the Smolny, Petersburg city hall. Five people were given jail time for not complying with lawful orders of the police: they refused to show police officers the contents of their bags.

Maltsev himself lives abroad, where he has been granted political asylum, but a wave of detentions has rolled across Russian cities. Among others, the Petersburg native Arman Sagynbayev was arrested in Penza. According to the human rights website OVD Info, Sagynbayev has also been charged with involvement in a terrorist organization. He has, allegedly, made a full confession.

According to our information, FSB officers asked Shiskin and Filinkov whether they knew Sagynbayev. Attorney Igor Mangilev, who has been representing Shishkin, corroborated that a transcript of Sagynbayev’s interrogation was included in the case file used at his client’s remand hearing.  According to other sources, Filinkov and his wife Alexandra, who is currently located in Ukraine, met Sagynbayev around a year ago, in  early 2017.

Criminal charges were filed against Filinkov and Shishkin on January 24, 2018. The case file contains testimony from a large number of witnesses, many of whom are classified.

The media have reported that the FSB managed to chat with another supporter of leftist views [sic], Igor Kapustin. Apparently, he was also interrogated and then released. He has told the press about the threats made by investigators.

Documented proof that the FSB used prohibited methods to pressure a suspect or witness in the case is available only with regard to Filinkov. He was detained on the evening of January 23 at Pulkovo Airport, and was identified formally as a suspect in the case around midnight on January 24. For over a day, he was in the hands of the FSB without any outside oversight. Yesterday, January 26, Filinkov was visited in the remand prison by members of the Petersburg Public Monitoring Commission, who filed a report substantiating numerous recent injuries to Filinkov’s body, including burns on his thigh and chest, produced by a electric cattle prod. Filinkov confirmed in writing he had been subjected to violence, and FSB officers had demanded he memorize his testimony and the names of people whom he, allegedly, knew. Attorney Vitaly Cherkasov confirmed to Fontanka.ru that his client was forced to confess his involvement with the Field of Mars branch of the terrorist organization The Network.

Filinkov and Shiskin have been remanded in police custody until March 23, 2018. In all likelihood, theirs will not be the last names on the list of Petersburg “Networkers.” According to our sources, the FSB has possession of electronic media [sic] that Filinkov tossed in trash containers before heading to Pulkovo Airport.

As for Vyacheslav Maltsev, the criminal case against him has been under investigation since November. He has been named as the organizer of a terrorist network (Criminal Code Article 205.4 Clause 1) and has been accused of pubicly calling for extremist actions (Criminal Code Article 280). Several suspects in the Maltsev case have been charged with planning a terrorist attack.

Translated by the Russian Reader

NB. Although Fontanka.ru has long been Petersburg’s most popular news website (or, at least, it has long claimed to be the city’s most popular website), the foreign reader should bear in mind that its founders, publishers, and editors have backgrounds in military intelligence and the Soviet and Russian police’s criminal investigative divisions. While this has no doubt come in handy over the years and permitted the website’s reporters to do what the name of its founding organization (AZhUR or Investigative Reporting Agency) suggests, there are other times when it is not clear whether Fontanka.ru believes the malarkey which Russia’s so-called siloviki are capable of spinning from whole cloth or whether it is mocking their incompetence. In this article, Fontanka.ru seems to want to have its cake and eat it, too. They suggest the FSB has invented a nonexistent terrorist network from scratch while at the same hinting the FSB has plenty of evidence the young men so far arrested in the case were actually involved in this nonexistent organization. Even a local reader with average intelligence and a healthy amount of skepticism would find this story and how it is reported by Fontanka.ru perplexing, to say the least. TRR

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How “Stability” Has Really Been Achieved in Russia

photo_2018-01-24_22-04-13Viktor Filinkov. Photo courtesy of Filinkov’s wife and OVD Info

Petersburg Anarchist Viktor Filinkov, Arrested in Terrorism Case, Says He Was Tortured
Mediazona
January 26, 2018

Antifascist Viktor Filinkov, arrested for alleged involvement in a terrorist network, has told members of the Public Monitoring Commission (PMC) he was tortured, according to the PMC’s report, which Mediazona has in its possession.

According to the PMC report, injuries “inflicted in the last two or three days” were discovered on Filinkov’s body, including numerous traces of burns from an electric shocker all over his right thigh, a hematoma on his right ankle, and burns from an electric shocker on his thorax.

Filinkov explained he suffered the injuries on January 24 in the car in which he was put by FSB officers after he was detained at Pulkovo Airport in Petersburg. The activist was then taken to the local Interior Ministry headquarters, and from there to a hospital. Filinkov was then driven into woodlands and held in the car for five hours.

FSB officers were seated in the front of the car, according to Filinkov. The middle row of seats was occupied by a man wearing a mask, while Filinkov and another man wearing a mask sat in the back of the vehicle. The injuries were inflicted between seven and eight o’clock in the morning.

According to the PMC’s report, “The FSB officers demanded that Filinkov confess, and having obtained his consent, they forced him to memorize the particular wording [of his confession].”

The masked men said very little, while the FSB officers threatened Filinkov that if he subsequently reneged on the confession, the beating they had given him would be a “light version” of the beating he would get later.

Afterwards, Filinkov signed a statement, addressed to the local Interior Ministry headquarters and the local FSB headquarters, in which he informed them of all the things he had been prompted to say. The FSB officers then demanded he not deny the statement in court, threatening to place him in a pretrial detention center with tuberculosis patients.

The only things the masked men said were “Stop twitching!” and “What you shouting for?”

Filinkov was transferred to another car in the woodlands, a Lada Priora, and taken to the local Interior Ministry headquarters. According to Filinkov, the masked men seemed to know their way around the building, as if they had been there many times. They also discussed the fact they should keep their faces hidden because of the security cameras in the building.

The PMC’s report notes that the men wiped the blood off Filinkov’s face with his own hat and with snow, and traces of bood were left on the hat. The leftist activist was also told that if he behaved badly, the FSB would “get to” his wife “even in Kyiv.”

On January 24, Filinkov’s wife told OVD Info her husband had disappeared on his way to Petersburg’s Pulkovo Airport. The antifascist was scheduled to fly to Kyiv at eight o’clock in the evening on January 23. The last time they communicated that day was three o’clock in the afternoon, when Filinkov texted his wife that he was headed to the airport and would text her again after he arrived there.

On January 25, it transpired that the Dzerzhinsky District Court in Petersburg had remanded Filinkov to police custody for two months on suspicion of involvement in a terrorist network (per Article 205.4 Part 2 of the Russian Criminal Code). According to police investigators, Filinikov and unidentified persons who “supported the anarchist ideology” were branch members of a terrorist network whose purpose was to engage in terrorist activities, propaganda, and justification of terrorism.

Today, the wife of another Petersburg antifascist, Igor Shishkin, reported he was missing. Shishkin went missing after his home was searched and he was taken away by law enforcement officers.

Translated by the Russian Reader