18.03.2008 | Halya Coynash

Not with a whimper – Help free Maxim Reznik!


This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

Only one man, only (perhaps) a couple of months in custody – are these the arguments for why the Western media is so depressingly uninterested in the remand in custody of St Petersburg opposition politician Maxim Reznik? 

What about only the first brazen arrest on trumped up charges following Medvedev’s “victory” on 2 March?  Only hours after the polling booths closed. 

And then there are the charges … Maxim Reznik was detained in the early hours of 3 March near the office of the “Yabloko” Party. Some people on the street were fighting and he attempted to intervene. He is now facing charges of insulting a representative of the authorities (i.e. a police officer) and using force against a representative of the authorities (a police officer). The only “witnesses” to this heinous crime are representatives of the authorities. And yes, that does mean what you think it means.

Reznik himself believes that the whole thing was set up to prevent him taking part in the March of those in dissent [Marsh niesoglasnykh] planned for 3 March.

The point is not the charges per se, although they could carry a five-year term of imprisonment, but the fact that a Russian court was prepared to remand him in custody.  The risk of his absconding or endeavouring to put pressure on those self-same representatives of the authorities was deemed just too great.

This, as members of the St Petersburg intelligentsia write in an appeal to the President, is at variance with the promises made by Dmitry Medvedev recently in which he stressed the need to reduce the numbers remanded in custody before court proceedings.

Via his mother, Maxim told the St Petersburg Internet publication that everybody in the SIZO [remand prison] treats him like a political prisoner.

The very first political prisoner following the election of Dmitry Medvedev…

The brazen absurdity of this case, as well as and Maxim Reznik’s continued detention, have appalled very many people in Russia, and protests are continuing.  The numbers are small, however, and the authorities have already detained some of those participating in an ongoing protest in Moscow.

This must not be the way democracy ends

Please add your voice to the appeal at:  by writing to [email protected]

The long list of signatures includes those of Yelena Bonner, Sergei Kovalev, Ludmila Alexeeva, Lev Ponomarev, Yury Samodurov, Ernst Cherny, Gleb Yakunin, the writer Boris Strugatsky and many more.  (cf. )

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