Solidarity Zone supports Kirill Butylin. And you can too!
On February 28, four days after the Russian army’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, 21-year-old Kirill Butylin threw Molotov cocktails at the military enlistment office in Lukhovitsy, a town in the Moscow Region.
A video of the attack and the arsonist’s manifesto were posted online on March 8.
Their author said that he had painted the gates of the military enlistment office in the colors of the Ukrainian flag and written the message “I’m not going to kill my brothers!” on them, before climbing the fence, pouring gasoline on the outside wall of the building, breaking the windows, and tossing Molotov cocktails through them. The insurgent saw as his goal the destruction of the archive containing the personal files of conscripts, which according to his information was located in that part of the building. He hoped that his actions would hinder mobilization in his district.
The partisan also stated in his manifesto: “I hope that I will not see my classmates in captivity or the lists of the dead. I think this should be circulated. Ukrainians will know that there are people in Russia who are fighting for them, that not everyone is afraid or indifferent. Our protesters should be inspired and act more decisively. And this should break the spirit of the Russian army and government even more.”
Butylin was detained on the day the manifesto was published. After the arson attack, he got rid of his phone and managed to travel to the Lithuanian-Belarusian border, Vremya MSK and Moskovsky Komsomolets claimed, but he was detained there. Butylin allegedly confessed that he wanted to go fight in Ukraine. The young man was promptly extradited to Russia and taken to the police station in Lukhovitsy.
On March 13, Butylin managed to escape. He took advantage of the moment when he was allowed to go to the toilet: finding himself not in handcuffs, he jumped out of the window. He then climbed over a fence and ran off in the direction of the M5 highway. He was soon detained again, however.
The criminal charges against Butylin have morphed, during the course of this case, from “vandalism” to “terrorist attack.” And if initially he was threatened with no more than three years of community service, he now faces from ten to fifteen years in prison.
In October, Solidarity Zone tracked down Butylin in the Matrosskaya Tishina pretrial detention center in Moscow and established a connection with him. He accepted our offer of support and said that he would be glad to receive publicity, letters and books. According to him, all his other needs are being taken care of. Butylin’s lawyer is paid for by his relatives.
Solidarity Zone supports Kirill Butylin and will continue to cover his case, as well as provide him with all necessary assistance.
You can also support Kirill by writing him a letter, sending him a book (we recommend that you first find out what kinds of books he likes and how to send them by writing him a letter) or publicizing his case.
Address for letters and parcels:
Butylin Kirill Vladimirovich (born 2001)
18 Matrosskaya Tishina Street
Pretrial Detention Center No. 1
Moscow 107076 Russian Federation
(It is possible to send letters through the FSIN-Pismo service and the RosUznik volunteer resource.)
Solidarity without borders!
Source: Solidarity Zone, Facebook, 7 November 2022. Translated by the Russian Reader. People living outside Russia will not be able to use the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service’s FSIN-Pismo service. It is also probably the case that it is impossible or nearly impossible to send parcels to Russian detention facilities from abroad. But you can send letters — translated into Russian (if you don’t know a competent translator, you can use a free online translation service such as Google Translate) — via RosUznik. You can also ask me for assistance and advice in sending letters by writing to email@example.com.
On November 3, a court in Moscow will consider whether to extend the remand in pretrial custody of Anton Zhuchkov and Vladimir Sergeyev, defendants in the so-called Anti-War Case
Zhuchkov and Sergeyev were detained on March 6 of this year on Pushkin Square in Moscow during an anti-war demonstration. Molotov cocktails were found in Sergeyev’s backpack, which later served as grounds for launching a criminal case: the friends were accused of preparing to set fire to empty paddy wagons.
They were initially charged with “attempted disorderly conduct involving the use of weapons” (per Articles 30.1 and 213.2 of the Russian Federal Criminal Code), but the charge was later amended to “preparation for a terrorist attack” (per Articles 30.1 and 205.2.a of the Criminal Code). Zhuchkov and Sergeyev now face up to 10 years in prison.
Today, it transpired that the court hearing, at which the case investigator’s petition to extend Sergeyev and Zhuchkov’s term in the pretrial detention center will be considered, is scheduled for November 3.
You can support the prisoners by being present in court. If you do intend to go to court, do not forget to take your internal passport and to leave your sharp objects and means of self-defense at home.
On October 28, the trial of Igor Paskar began in the Southern District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don. He is accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail at the FSB’s offices in Krasnodar, and also of setting fire to a [pro-war] “Z” banner. Paskar explains his actions as a protest against the war: after the alleged attempted arson at the FSB, he painted his face in the colors of the Ukrainian flag of Ukraine. The FSB has classified the protest as “terrorism,” and the burning of the banner as “vandalism.” Paskar faces ten to fifteen years in prison if convicted.
To Moscow and Back
Igor Paskar was born and lived until the age of thirty-five in a workers settlement in the Volgograd Region. He came of age in the 1990s, turning eighteen in 1994. After school, he enrolled in the administrative and industrial buildings maintenance program at the Volgograd Institute of Architecture and Civil Engineering, but had to quit his studies in his first year after he was drafted into the army. After two years in a construction battalion, Paskar returned to his native village and immediately began working odd jobs — on construction sites, as a loader, and as a courier.
In 1998, when Paskar was twenty-two, he was first sentenced to five years probation on charges related to drug trafficking. In 2001, he received two years of actual prison time for theft and possession of hashish. He was last convicted of a criminal offense — one and a half years probation for possession of marijuana — in 2006. The last ten years, Paskar told Vot Tak, he has been clean — he completely gave up using light drugs.
In 2013, Paskar moved to Moscow. At various times in the capital, he worked as a courier at Samokat, as a loader, and as a furniture assembler. He also sold rare items on Amazon.
He became interested in politics in 2018 — as his case investigator would later write, he became an “adherent of radical liberal opposition ideas.” In 2021, Paskar was detained in Moscow for taking part in a protest rally called by Team Navalny after the politician’s arrest.
In the summer of 2021, the activist returned to Volgograd, where he got a job as a courier. During one of the interrogations about this period, he said: “I was still interested in the work of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, and I supported Alexei Navalny. I publicly voiced my opinions among people I know, including at work, and I posted my opinions in messengers and chats.”
The FSB on Fire
In February of this year, before the start of the Russian invasion, Paskar responded to an ad and took in a lost dachshund. According to the activist, stray dogs tried to attack the pooch several times, so he bought a flare gun to scare them away. He soon left his village in the Volgograd Region with his dog for work: he had found an unusual vacancy on the internet — picking strawberries in Adygea. Paskar was unable to start the job, however. There was a conflict in the workers’ accommodations over the dachshund, and he fired the flare gun at the ceiling. Paskar himself called the police, and the court sentenced him to five days in jail. After his release from a special detention center, Paskar left for Krasnodar.
In a letter, he describes this period as follows: “I have had a whole series of failures in life over the last three months. When the special operation began, I was unable to transfer money from abroad after the SWIFT system was switched off. I had an Amazon account on which I traded rare items. After the start of the special operation, I lost my earnings. I could not get a job in Volgograd and decided to go to Krasnodar for seasonal work, but there were a number of failures. I was angry at my plight and decided to sacrifice myself for what I believe in — peace.”
Paskar held his first anti-war protest in downtown Krasnodar on June 12, Russia Day. It was then that he threw a lighted bottle of gasoline at a banner featuring the letter Z and the slogan “We do not abandon our own.” No one paid attention to his actions, the banner quickly went out, and Paskar was not detained.
Paskar then decided to carry out a protest action at the FSB’s Krasnodar offices. He did not plan to go into hiding and prepared for his arrest by selling his phone and packing a bag for the pretrial detention center. “My criminal experience has left its mark on me. When a person has [this experience], they are no longer afraid to go to prison. They already know that you can live there too — not very well, but you can do it. It is not hell. This has an impact not so much on radical decisions as on accepting one’s fate,” Paskar noted in a letter to your correspondent.
On June 14, Paskar went to the FSB’s offices on ulitsa Mira [“Peace Street”] in Krasnodar. A Molotov cocktail flew [sic] onto the building’s stone porch. The activist then painted his cheeks yellow and blue and waited for passersby to react and for the authorities to detain him. He hoped that someone would record the protest on their phone and post the video on the internet. Passersby avoided the scene, however. FSB officers came out of the building after a few minutes and detained the activist.
A Burnt Rug
Paskar calls his protest symbolic, emphasizing that his actions could not have caused serious damage — only a rug was burned on the stone porch. Despite this, a criminal case was immediately launched against Paskar under Article 205 (“Terrorism”) of the Russian Federal Criminal Code, which stipulates a penalty of ten to fifteen years in prison.
On October 28, the Southern District Military Court began considering the case — according to the amendments to the law adopted in 2014, only four district military courts [in Russia] can try terrorism cases. The court extended Paskar’s term in the pretrial detention center for six months, and ruled that the trial would be open to the public. The first hearing on the merits in the case was scheduled for November 10.
In 2016, for setting fire to the door of the FSB headquarters in Lubyanka Square [in Moscow], the performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky was sentenced to pay a fine of 500 thousand rubles under Article 243 of the Russian Federal Criminal Code (“Destruction or damage to objects of cultural heritage or cultural artefacts”). And yet, at the trial, the artist demanded that his actions be reclassified as terrorism.
Earlier, the [exiled opposition] politician Gennady Gudkov said that Paskar’s actions could be deemed disorderly conduct: “In any civilized country, such a thing is regarded as disorderly conduct and is punished with a warning or a fine.” And gallery owner Marat Guelman called Paskar’s act activism.
Paskar is being aided by the human rights initiative Solidarity Zone, which previously announced a fundraiser to pay for Paskar’s lawyer.
Vot Tak has published an article about Igor Paskar, who is accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail at the FSB offices in Krasnodar and setting fire to a “Z” banner. He did this to drawn attention to the war and voice support for the people of Ukraine.
On October 28, the Southern District Military Court began trying Paskar’s case.
Solidarity Zone has been providing comprehensive assistance to Paskar.
We are now raising funds to pay for Igor’s lawyer.
Baza and Mediazona have reported that a man who threw a Molotov cocktail at a riot police bus was detained in downtown Moscow on the evening of May 2. They have published photos from the scene of the incident and the suspect’s arrest.
A video made by an eyewitness, which Mediazona has at its disposal, made it clear that the front side of the vehicle was charred. The witness specified that the bus “burned for a couple of minutes” before it was extinguished.
The attacker’s motives are unknown, and there was no information about him at the time that the news went to press. In March, a court in Moscow sentenced to two years in prison an anti-war protester who threw a Molotov cocktail at the police: the container did not break, the liquid did not ignite.
Source: Radio Svoboda, 2 May 2022. Translated by the Russian Reader
Before the protest, Vitaly Koltsov posted a poem about fiery hearts lighting up the darkness. The man went to throw a Molotov cocktail in the center of the capital dressed in a suit and carrying a suitcase.
“If the day is extinguished forever, / Our glory will not fade / Death is given only once, / Let’s choose it to our liking / So as to see, at the end, / The desert illuminated / By our fiery hearts / By the rising sun,” the man wrote before attacking the paddy wagon.
Vitaly Koltsov is the father of three children and a graduate of the Faculty of Philosophy at the Russian State University for the Humanities. He has been charged under Article 317 of the Russian Federal Criminal Code (endangering the life of a law enforcement officer). He faces up to twenty years in prison if convicted.
Source: Astra, Telegram, 3 May 2022. Thanks to Marina Ken for the link. Translated by the Russian Reader
Since the war in Ukraine broke out, protesters have set fire to military enlistment offices in several regions of Russia. The media has reported at least five such incidents. The people detained in these cases told police that they were trying to disrupt the spring recruitment campaign.
On February 28, a 21-year-old local resident set fire to the military enlistment office in Lukhovitsy, Moscow Region, to protest the war’s outbreak. After he was detained, he said that he wanted to destroy the archive containing the personal files of conscripts in order to prevent mobilization. Two weeks later, he escaped from the police station.
In March, military enlistment offices caught fire in Voronezh, Sverdlovsk Region, and Ivanovo Region. In all cases, local residents threw Molotov cocktails in the windows of these offices. The young men who started the fires in the Sverdlovsk and Ivanovo regions were detained. Both of them explained their actions by saying that they wanted to disrupt the draft campaign amid the hostilities in Ukraine. Moreover, persons unknown had scrawled anti-war appeals on local government buildings and shops in several towns in the Ivanovo Region before the blaze.
In April, Molotov cocktails were thrown at the military enlistment office in the village of Zubova Polyana in Mordovia. In this case, the protesters achieved their goal: the recruitment campaign was stopped. The rooms in the office where the data of conscripts were stored caught on fire.
The spring draft in Russia began on April 1 and will end on July 15. 134,500 young men are scheduled to be drafted into the army.
The Russian authorities have repeatedly claimed that conscripted soldiers will not be sent to fight in Ukraine. However, on March 9, the Russian Defense Ministry acknowledged for the first time that conscripts were fighting in Ukraine, and reported that several conscript soldiers had been captured.
On February 24, university student Anastasia Levashova threw a Molotov cocktail at an antiwar rally in Moscow. The court sentenced her to two years in prison for violating Article 318.1 of the Russian Federal Criminal Code, which criminalizes the use of violence against authorities.