Friends, I rarely sign petitions and I never ask other people to sign them.
Now, however, circumstances are such that we need to get as many of our fellow citizens involved in discussing the political crisis in Moscow. During this crisis, the FSB, the Russian Investigative Committee, and the police have taken direct control of civic life, bordering on a military coup.
So I would ask you to read this petition, sign it, and talk about it on social media.
It says two things.
1. Criminally prosecuting peaceful citizens for their convictions is defined as political terror.
2. Alexander Bastrykin, chair of the Investigative Committee, is asked to put an immediate end to the criminal investigation of the “riot” in Moscow on July 27 due to the fact that no such crime was committed.
To date, eight people have been arrested and remanded in custody in the case of the riot that did not happen. One suspect in the case has vanished. And this is only the beginning.
None of us is so naive as to believe Bastrykin would meet us halfway. No one has any illusions about the man. He regards the people of our country as expendable in maintaining his personal power and the power of his friends. Nevertheless, Bastrykin formally has the authority to stop this train before it reaches full speed.
We must circulate the petition to get as many people as possible to pay attention to what is happening. We also must show the authorities that society is morally, civically, and politically ready to resist.
If hundreds of thousands of us stand up to be counted, no one can say we do not exist, as they said our signatures in support of candidates standing in these elections did not exist.
Stop the Criminal Case Against People Who Took Part in the Peaceful Protest on July 27, 2019, in Moscow
August 5, 2019
Novaya Gazeta started this petition to Alexander Bastrykin, Chair of the Investigative Committee, and the Investigative Committee
We, citizens of Russia, demand an end to the political terror unleashed against our country’s people by law enforcement agencies.
On July 27, 2019, a peaceful rally in defense of our constitutionally guaranteed voting rights took place in Moscow. In response to the rally, the Russian Investigative Committee has launched a criminal investigation into “rioting.”
According to Article 212 of the Russian Criminal Code, riots involve violence against citizens and public officials, property damage, arson, and mayhem. However, nothing of the sort happened in Moscow on July 27, 2019.
On the contrary, voters demanded that Russia’s laws should be upheld and candidates who had previously been barred should be allowed to stand in the elections to the Moscow City Duma. The “disorderly conduct” cited by investigators cannot be defined as a “riot” either according to the letter of the law or in terms of common sense.
Despite what the Russian Constitution says, people who peacefully defended their rights have now been subjected to criminal prosecution for their beliefs.
Article 29 Part 3 of our country’s basic law states, “No one may be forced to express his views and convictions or to reject them.”
We believe the criminal investigation into rioting is being used to intimidate the people of Russia. It is tantamount to banning our voting rights.
As of August 5, peaceful protesters Sergei Abanichev, Vladislav Barabanov, Yegor Zhukov, Kirill Zhukov, Yevgeny Kovalenko, Daniil Konon, Alexei Minyaylo, Ivan Podkopayev, and Samariddin Radzhabov have been remanded in custody as part of the riot investigation for no reason whatsoever.
None of them has admitted their guilt.
We are aware of the impending arrests of our family members, friends, and colleagues.
We also know the fabricated evidence in the case is based on information extracted from telephones that were illegally confiscated from citizens detained during peaceful protests.
If the Investigative Committee uses its authority to unleash political terror against its own people, it would not go unnoticed. Massive abuse of the law for political ends would have long-term tragic consequences for our country, as evidenced by the history of the twentieth century.
Criminal prosecution cannot be a means of settling scores with political opponents. It will provoke a further escalation of the civil conflict in Russia.
On the basis of Article 24.1.1 of the Russian Federal Criminal Procedure Code, we demand the authorities drop the investigation into the “riot” in Moscow on July 27, 2019, in view of the obvious fact that no crime was committed.
Who We Are
Founded in 1993, Novaya Gazeta is a Russian newspaper known all over the world for its investigations of high-level corruption and special reports from hot spots. We have won a Pulitzer Prize and been nominated for a Nobel Prize. Our staff includes journalists Elena Milashina, Olga Bobrova, Roman Anin, Elena Kostyuchenko, Pavel Kanygin, and Ilya Azar. Yulia Latynina, Dmitry Bykov, Irina Petrovskaya, and Slava Taroshchina are among our regular contributors. In 2018, our editorial staff and friends of our newspaper launched a partnership campaign. To date, 20% of the newspaper’s expenses have been covered by personal donations from over seven thousand of its readers.
Image courtesy of Kirill Martynov and Change.org. Translated by the Russian Reader