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24.10.2019 | Halya Coynash

Defendant in notorious Russian political trial seeks asylum in Ukraine

   

Sergei Gavrilov, one of the defendants in Russia’s ‘Novoye Velichiye’ trial has fled from house arrest, and asked for political asylum in Ukraine.  The 26-year-old Russian apparently entered Ukraine via Belarus where the likelihood of his being forcibly returned to Russia was very high.  It is to be hoped that Ukraine will  recognize his right to asylum, as the trial now underway in Moscow has nothing to do with rule of law.

Judging by the Ukrainian Border Guard Service’s report, Gavrilov entered Ukraine at the Senkivka crossing (Chernihiv oblast) and immediately asked for asylum.  He told the guards that in the Russian Federation, he is being persecuted for protests against the regime. His case has now been sent to the State Migration Service.

Grani.ru reports that Gavrilov is a programming engineer from Moscow.  He found the page of the so-called Novoye Velichiye group on the VKontakte social network after being detained and fined 12 thousand roubles for his part in a peaceful protest in support of arrested activists on 5 November 2017.  He was outraged at this administrative prosecution and began visiting opposition websites and social media groups..  He attended several meetings with the other people charged over ‘Novoye Velichiye’.

The 10 defendants in this case, many of whom have been in detention since 16 March 2018, were basically just young people who chatted about politics and life on Telegram.   Their innocent chats were infiltrated by a person linked with the FSB [Russia’s Security Service] who played a highly active role in turning an ununified group of people into an ‘organization’  It was this FSB provocateur, Ruslan Danilov [‘Ruslan D’ on Telegram] who first proposed creating an ‘organization’ and paid the rent on an office for it.  It was he who encouraged the others to get a printer and who came up with the name (Novoye Velichiye or ‘New Majesty/Greatness’’).  It was also Danilov who came up with the idea of having an organizational structure, giving people particular areas of responsibility.  This may all sound like schoolboy stuff, but it was nothing of the sort.  All of Danilov’s proposals were based on the article of Russia’s criminal code on ‘organizing an extremist organization’ and were used as evidence against the 10 young people, the youngest of whom was still underage when arrested in March 2018.  Given the very serious charges against the young people, it is important to note that it was Danilov who proposed that the group have a political program, or ‘charter’, and offered to write this. An ‘expert assessment’ of this charter detected “elements of propaganda of the ideology of violence” in this document.  

The case material initially identified Danilov as Alexander Konstantinov and claimed that he had turned up at the Investigative Committee in March 2018 to inform them of the ‘organization’.  He had purportedly “understood their possible illegal activities” and decided to follow them.  It seems that Danilov has now been quietly removed from the indictment although the charges against the others would not have arisen without the pivotal role that he played. 

Danilov’s ‘surveillance’, which was much more like provocation, began after ‘opposition-minded’ chats, involving people like Gavrilov and the others, appeared on 6 November, 2017.  This was a day after the crushing of an attempt by Viacheslav Maltsev, a fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and anti-corruption campaigner, to start a ‘revolution’.  According to OVD.info,  448 people were detained that day.

Sergei Gavrilov, one of the defendants in Russia’s ‘Novoye Velichiye’ trial has fled from house arrest, and asked for political asylum in Ukraine.  The 26-year-old Russian apparently entered Ukraine via Belarus where the likelihood of his being forcibly returned to Russia was very high.  It is to be hoped that Ukraine will  recognize his right to asylum, as the trial now underway in Moscow has nothing to do with rule of law.  It has already been reported that Gavrilov has been placed on Russia’s wanted list.

Judging by the Ukrainian Border Guard Service’s report, Gavrilov entered Ukraine at the Senkivka crossing (Chernihiv oblast) and immediately asked for asylum.  He told the guards that in the Russian Federation, he is being persecuted for protests against the regime. His case has now been sent to the State Migration Service.

Grani.ru reports that Gavrilov is a programming engineer from Moscow.  He found the page of the so-called Novoye Velichiye group on the VKontakte social network after being detained and fined 12 thousand roubles for his part in a peaceful protest in support of arrested activists on 5 November 2017.  He was outraged at this administrative prosecution and began visiting opposition websites and social media groups..  He attended several meetings with the other people charged over ‘Novoye Velichiye’.

The 10 defendants in this case, many of whom have been in detention since 16 March 2018, were basically just young people who chatted about politics and life on Telegram.   Their innocent chats were infiltrated by a person linked with the FSB [Russia’s Security Service] who played a highly active role in turning an ununified group of people into an ‘organization’  It was this FSB provocateur, Ruslan Danilov [‘Ruslan D’ on Telegram] who first proposed creating an ‘organization’ and paid the rent on an office for it.  It was he who encouraged the others to get a printer and who came up with the name (Novoye Velichiye or ‘New Majesty/Greatness’’).  It was also Danilov who came up with the idea of having an organizational structure, giving people particular areas of responsibility.  This may all sound like schoolboy stuff, but it was nothing of the sort.  All of Danilov’s proposals were based on the article of Russia’s criminal code on ‘organizing an extremist organization’ and were used as evidence against the 10 young people, the youngest of whom was still underage when arrested in March 2018.  Given the very serious charges against the young people, it is important to note that it was Danilov who proposed that the group have a political program, or ‘charter’, and offered to write this. An ‘expert assessment’ of this charter detected “elements of propaganda of the ideology of violence” in this document.  

The case material initially identified Danilov as Alexander Konstantinov and claimed that he had turned up at the Investigative Committee in March 2018 to inform them of the ‘organization’.  He had purportedly “understood their possible illegal activities” and decided to follow them.  It seems that Danilov has now been quietly removed from the indictment although the charges against the others would not have arisen without the pivotal role that he played. 

Danilov’s ‘surveillance’, which was much more like provocation, began after ‘opposition-minded’ chats, involving people like Gavrilov and the others, appeared on 6 November, 2017.  This was a day after the crushing of an attempt by Viacheslav Maltsev, a fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and anti-corruption campaigner, to start a ‘revolution’.  According to OVD.info,  448 people were detained that day.

On 10 November 2017, some of the young people on these chats met for the first of what were to be four meetings in a Moscow McDonalds, where they discussed politics as one of many subjects.  Danilov came to the second such meeting, later in November.  He presented himself as an opposition-minded Russian of around 30, writing words of criticism about the FSB, the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin, etc.  There appear to have been two other infiltrated officers, although it was Danilov whose role was so sinister, and without whom it is not at all clear there would have been a group at all.

Eight young men and two teenage girls were arrested on 16 March 2018 and charged with creating an ‘extremist organization’.  There had only ever been about 20 ‘members’, who had not even held a single political protest, by the time the law enforcement bodies pounced.

The Investigative Committee claims that the twenty members of Novoye Velichiye wanted to violently overturn the constitutional order in Russia.  For this reason, it asserts, they circulated their ideas and were planning to take part in popular uprisings and revolutions, seize power, create a temporary government and adopt a new Constitution.  Due to details linked with Danilov, like the organizational subdivisions, the prosecution has been able to charge all of the ‘members’ with being ‘organizers of an extremist group’.  ‘Organizers’ face a sentence of from 6 to 10 years under Article 282.1 § 1 of Russia’s criminal code, as opposed to ‘participants’ who would get a sentence of up to six years.

See also:

Russian prosecution witness confirms that all ‘extremism’ used to jail teenagers came from FSB infiltrator

FSB infiltrator creates an ‘extremist’ group to jail teenagers critical of the Putin regime in Russia

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