Scenes from Olga Smirnova’s Show Trial

“Fun times” today at the trial of Olga Borisovna Smirnova. The escort guard pushed the defense lawyer, Zyryanova, and ripped a phone from her hands, injuring her fingers. As soon as the ambulance arrived, the doctors took Olga’s defense attorney downstairs to the vehicle and drove her away.

At the trial itself, the prosecutor read out a bunch of papers for three hours regarding the searches of the homes of Olga’s associates. In each instance the investigator wrote that none of this evidence was entered into the case file, whereas earlier she herself had insisted on urgent searches without a court order, which were carried out.

The only variety in these boilerplate search and inspection reports was provided by the descriptions of apartments and rooms. And, for some reason, the prosecutor always says “kitCHEN table,” with the stress on the second syllable.

But there is nothing [“incriminating” in these reports?] except literature in Ukrainian (the prosecutor reads the title in Ukrainian and then the Russian translation, as supplied by Yandex Translate) and placards whose slogans the prosecutor was occasionally ashamed to read aloud, claiming that the slogan “Free political prisoners” was “obscene,” and the slogan “Putin resign” was “illegible.” What sort of sharp practice is it to fill the criminal case file, under the guise of evidence, with stuff that has nothing to do with the case and even according to the investigator is not evidence? Is the prosecutor trying to generate an overall fogginess?

While there is a break in the trial, people wait in the hallway. More than twenty people have come to hearing, including a group of supporters and journalists.

When Olga is escorted out now, the bailiffs close the door to the stairs, where people are standing, apparently so that they won’t be able to shout out words of support to her.

Source: Alexei Sergeyev (Facebook), 4 April 2023, from Kirovsky District Court in St. Petersburg. Translated by the Russian Reader

As our correspondent reports, at the latest hearing in the trial of activist Olga Smirnova, in the Kirovsky District Court, the prosecution made public the contents of the nine posts on VKontakte which occasioned criminal charges of disseminating “fake news” about the Russian army.

The posts listed by the prosecution were made on the public social media page of the movement Democratic Petersburg.

  • A post with a link to a video titled “We will never be brothers,” in which it is reported that the Russian army is “reducing Ukrainian cities to ruins.”
  • A post with a link to a video that concludes with the words [in Ukrainian], “Glory to Ukraine, glory to the defenders, death to the enemy.”
  • A post with a link to a video titled “We show Russians photos from Ukraine. The reaction of Russians to the war in Ukraine.” In the video, “the assertion is made” that the photos show Ukrainian cities destroyed by Russian shelling.
  • A post featuring a photo of a placard on which “the assertion is made” that the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center was damaged by Russian bombing.
  • A link to a video titled “No war with Ukraine.”
  • A post titled “Chronicles of the war, March 9,” in which it is reported that over 1,300 civilians were killed in Mariupol, most of whom were Russian-speaking.
  • A post titled “Chronicles of the war, March 9, continued,” which reports that Russian troops continue to bomb Kharkiv’s civilian infrastructure facilities.
  • A post which”sarcastically” reports on a battle between Kadyrovites and Ukrainian National Guardsmen on the premises of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, claiming that goal of the Kadyrovites is to seize the nuclear power plant in order to “blackmail the whole of Europe with radioactive contamination.”
  • A post titled “Anti-war pickets: greetings and glory to Ukraine,” which reports that supporters of peaceful resistance in Petersburg came out to protest against the criminal war which Russia is waging against Ukraine.

Due to the absence of witnesses, the prosecution moved to postpone the trial until March and the court granted the motion.

Olga Smirnova is a grassroots activist. She is one of the founders of Strategy 18, an ongoing campaign in support of the Crimean Tatars. She is also a a member of the Petersburg movement Peaceful Resistance, which, according to its own description, “spreads the truth about the Russian Federation’s large-scale criminal war against Ukraine.”

Until 2014, Smirnova worked as an architect, but after Crimea was occupied, she devoted herself to grassroots activism. In 2021, her home was searched due to Strategy 18’s protest campaign, as part of a criminal investigation into “condoning the activities of a terrorist organization banned in Russia.”

The Petersburger faces up to ten years in prison if convicted. You can write to Olga Smirnova in jail: Bumaga explains how to do it.

Source: Bumaga, “What posts by Petersburger Olga Smirnova does the prosecution consider ‘fakes’ about the Russian army?” 20 February 2023. Translated by the Russian Reader. You can send letters — written in or translated into Russian (if you don’t know a competent translator, you can use a free online translation service such as Google Translate) — to Olga Smirnova and other Russian political prisoners via the free, volunteer-run service RosUznik. You may ask me ( for assistance and advice in sending such letters.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s