The ridiculous Meduza strikes again, now deliberately misnaming the (nonexistent) “Network” (and, by the by, passing off the FSB’s torture-“collaborated” fairytales as facts) after just as deliberately, three years ago, torpedoing the broad-based solidarity movement that had finally sprung up in support of the defendants in the so-called Network Case.*
Source: “‘This regime is not subject to evolution’: Political writer Ilya Budraitskis explains the left’s vision of decentralized governance and why Russia’s Communist Party must exit together with Putin,” Meduza, 17 April 2023
* [February 2020]
There is unprecedented public outrage at the verdict and the prison sentences requested by the prosecutor. Hundreds of open letters and appeals—from musicians, poets, cinematographers, book publishers, artists, teachers, and municipal councilors—are published. For the first time in Russia, the practice of torture by the special services is openly and massively condemned. The verdict is called an attempt to intimidate the Russian people. The public demands a review of the Network Case and an investigation of the claims of torture. People stand in a huge queue on Moscow’s Lubyanka Square to take turns doing solo pickets.
But a week later, the wave of indignation is shot down. Meduza publishes a controversial article, “Four Went In, Only Two Returned,” in which a certain Alexei Poltavets confesses to a double murder that he committed, allegedly, with defendants in the Network Case. There had long been rumors about the so-called Ryazan Case—the murders of Artyom Dorofeyev and Ekaterina Levchenko in the woods near Ryazan—within the activist community, but the story had never surfaced, because there was no evidence. There is no evidence now, either: the Network’s involvement in the murder is not corroborated by anything other than the claims made by Poltavets. Poltavets himself is in Kiev, and no formal murder charges are made against the Network. But it is enough to discredit the solidarity campaign. Now, in the eyes of society, those who take the side of the Network Case defendants are defending murderers. Public outrage fades, and the verdict remains the same
Source: Yan Shenkman, “The Three-Year Revenge,” Novaya Gazeta, 20 October 2020, as translated and published by the Russian Reader the same day