This past spring, I posted a translation of an article, originally published on the news and commentary website Grani.ru (which has long been banned in Russia) about the plight of Boris Yakovlev, a singer-songwriter from the town of Dno, in Pskov Region, whom the FSB had charged with “extremism,” allegedly, for the “seditious” content of his songs. Yakovlev has now left the country and applied for political asylum in Finland, where Grani.ru caught up with him.
My personal, unsurprising prediction is that the number of “extremists” will quadruple, if not worse, in the coming year. TRR
The Herald of Revolution from Dno Station Grani.ru
October 11, 2017
On October 10, Pskov City Court ordered the arrest of the dangerous [sic] extremist Boris Yakovlev at the request of the FSB. By that time, the 44-year-old Dno resident had ignored an written undertaking to report to court on his own recognizance and applied for asylum in Finland. Criminal charges had been filed against him for anti-Putin songs posted on YouTube and the Russian social network VK. The crime Yakolev has been charged with (calls for extremism on the internet) carries a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison.
The forensic examination in the case was performed by Andrei Pominov, a lecturer at Bashkir State University. He discovered in the lyrics to Yaklovev’s songs “psychological and linguistic means aimed at inducing an unspecified group of persons to carry out extremist actions aimed at forcibly changing the existing state system or seizing power.”
Translated by the Russian Reader
In Helsinki, Boris Yakovlev explains that revolution in Russia is inevitable given the country’s deteriorating economic, political, and social conditions.
Pskov Region Singer-Songwriter Boris Yakovlev Charged with Calls for Extremism Grani.ru
April 20, 2017
The FSB’s Pskov Region office has charged Boris Yakovlev, a 44-year-old resident of Dno, under Article 280.2 of the Russian Federal Criminal Code (public calls for extremism using the internet). Grani.ru was informed about the case by lawyer Dmitry Dinze, who is representing the musician.
“Yakovlev has denied his guilt and refused to testify, since the defense needs to analyze the evidence on which the charges are based,” said Dinze. “In addition, a forensic examination of the digital media seized from Yakovlev’s home has now been ordered, and in the near future, the court will order and perform a linguistic forensic examination. The forensic experts are being chosen. The defendant has been released on his own recognizance.”
Besides the recorded songs posted on YouTube, the FSB alleges that between June 20 and June 29, 2016, Yakovlev posted on his personal page on the social network Vkontakte five pieces of writing in which he outlined his ideas about the situation and events in Russia. The texts in question begin with the words “About elections,” “We have already gone over our limit on revolutions,” “Above the dwarf’s head,” “I find it curious,” and “Reading the newswire.”
On March 20, 2017, Senior Lieutenant A. Filippov, a detective in the First Branch of the Department for Protecting the Constitutional Order and Combating Terrorism in the FSB’s Pskov Region office, filed a crime report. He claimed there was evidence of a crime in Yakovlev’s published texts: public calls for extremism on the internet.
In a specially conducted study, Andrei Pominov, an associate professor in education and psychology at Bashkir State University’s Sibai Institute, wrote that Yakovlev’s texts “contain psychological and linguistic means aimed at inducing an unspecified group of persons to carry out extremist actions aimed at forcibly changing the existing state system or seizing power.”
Consequently, Captain of Justice I. Karpenkov, senior investigator in the Investigative Department of the FSB’s Pskov Region office, filed criminal charges against Yakovlev.
Boris Yakovlev, “Confession of an Enemy of the People”
On March 16, Judge Yevgeny Naydenov of Moscow’s Presna District Court fined rapper David Nuriyev (aka Ptakha) 200,000 rubles [approx. 3,300 euros] in an extremism case. Ptakha was found guilty of violating Article 282.1 of the Criminal Code (inciting hatred or enmity toward a group of people united on the grounds that they “assisted law enforcement agencies in locating and apprehending criminals”). The “social group” in the case was the Anti-Dealer Movement, founded by Dmitry Nosov, an ex-LDPR MP and former professional judoka.
The prosecutor had asked the defendant be given a suspended sentence of one and a half years. The musician fully acknowledged his guilt and apologized to Anti-Dealer. The case was tried under a special procedure. The trial consisted of a single hearing.
Boris Yakovlev, “I Want to Be There at the Hour”
I want to be there at the hour When the millions of nationalist riffraff Howl as one: We were opposed! We knew everything!
We pretended deliberately. You understand: work and kids. But deep down we resisted. We don’t want Crimea, please note.
We realized he was a murderer. We don’t want war and death. We really love Ukrainians. We’re innocent, believe us!
We don’t want Lugansk and Donbass. It’s the first we’ve heard about the “Russian world.” Standing in line for rotten meat, That’s what the mouse people will whisper.
I want to look in the eyes of the followers, Those Pharisees of the mob, In whom honor and conscience are vestiges, And who have an ass instead of a head.
Translated by the Russian Reader. A huge thanks to Comrade Koganzon for the heads-up