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17.08.2015

Another Crimean blogger interrogated by FSB over Facebook post

   

    A protest in March 2014 against Russia’s annexation of Crimea.  The placard reads: Supporters of Putin: You will not speak in Russian, you will SILENT in Russian!

The behaviour of the FSB in Russian-occupied Crimea is increasingly reminiscent of the tactics used by the Soviet KGB.  Sevastopol blogger Iryna Gorelikova has reported being hauled in for questioning after she shared a link on Facebook about Mustafa Dzhemiliev, the veteran Crimean Tatar leader and Ukrainian MP whom Russia has banned from his homeland.  

Gorelikova writes that two men in plain clothes appeared at her home on Friday morning, Aug 14 with a formal summons for questioning.  They told her to come with them, and when she said that she needed to go to work, warned her to “not make things worse for herself”.

She was met at the FSB by a polite young man who said that he had “invited” her for a talk.  She corrected him, saying that the word ‘invite’ in this situation referred to a summons for interrogation.

“They were extremely concealed about the integrity of such a country as Russia, and whether I was not encroaching on Russia’s territorial integrity I answered that my indignation in the social media is specifically due to concern over the integrity of Ukraine, and it is incorrect for Russia to touch on the question of its integrity.”

As well as asking why she had posted an article about Mustafa Dzhemiliev, they wanted to know her opinion of Russian President Vladimir Putin.  She told them that her view had plummeted since Russia’s annexation of Crimea, but that before that she had been envious of Russians that they had such a president.  She hadn’t believed Russians about the poverty, corruption and lawlessness in Russia.  After seeing the annexation and the one and a half years since, she “has understood, and is genuinely sorry for Russians”.

The FSB officers, Gorelikova says, directly suggested that she leave Sevastopol and move to mainland Ukraine.  She told them they would need to kill her since she has no intention of moving

“I didn’t promise the FSB to change my position. Glory to Ukraine.  What will come later I don’t know.”

The information, reported by the Centre for Journalist Investigations, cannot be confirmed though the copy of the summons is posted.  Gorelikova’s account is close enough to those of other Crimeans to be seriously questioned. 

In May 2015 blogger and civic activist Liza Bohutska was summoned for questioning at the ‘Centre for Countering Extremism’ in Russian-occupied Crimea. The FSB certainly knew that she was living in Kyiv since had received other letters assuring her that there were no criminal cases pending against her nor any restrictions on her entering Crimea.  Bohutska was aware how to view such assurances and did not return to Crimea.  She had left for Kyiv in September 2014, the day after the FSB carried out a search of her home, and she was interrogated for around 6 hours (also in the Centre for Countering Extremism). 

Bohutska is a well-known blogger who has never concealed her opposition to Russia’s annexation of Crimea. 

Nor has Yury Ilchenko, a teacher and blogger from Sevastopol who has been in detention since the beginning of July, almost certainly in connection with texts expressing opposition to Russian rule.  As reported, the marathon swimmer Oleg Sofyanik recently decided he could not return to Crimea after receiving a summons for questioning over Yury Ilchenko’s arrest.

The assumption that he could be the next person to be arrested is one that he shares with many other Crimeans who oppose Russia’s invasion and occupation of the peninsula.

Halya Coynash

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