This is an extract from: 'Stat'ya, s kotoroi vse ne tak,' OVD-Info, 23 December 2015
The case of Vladimir Ionov: who is the mystery “participant”?
Three out of the four cases initiated under Article 212.1 of the Russian Criminal Code have been brought to trial, with investigations as yet incomplete in the case of Mark Galperin alone. This is apparently due to the fact that in formal terms Galperin’s last offence relates to his detention on 15 September, which is already the subject of a court ruling. The prosecution is now hunting for anything resembling a similar offence which has not yet been punished under administrative law.
Irina Kalmykova’s case was brought to trial on 1 October, but only a few hearings have taken place in the time since then. The witnesses for the prosecution – the police officers who detained Kalmykova – have a hazy recollection of the relevant events: in particular, one of them proved unable to remember exactly what Kalmykova had called out, but stated with certainty that “she definitely called out something” (after which members of the public were excluded from the chamber for laughing). According to Kalmykova, the witnesses’ testimonies to the court differ from what they had written in their statements.
In the hearings in Ildar Dadin’s case, the police witnesses stated that they had detained the accused at demonstrations attended by “approximately two” activists, although they have been unable to supply any details concerning this mysterious second person.
A mysterious second person has also figured in the hearings in Vladimir Ionov’s case: as mentioned previously, on one occasion he was detained because someone else came and stood next to Ionov after he had mounted a lone picket. Once again, the police officers were unable to say exactly who this person had been. What is more, for reasons which are wholly unclear, the court investigated an offence which had been excluded from the case (a detention which took place on 13 September 2014).
It is entirely possible that the majority of those involved in the proceedings are fully aware that the charges brought against the activists are poorly founded and insubstantial. The public prosecutor and the witnesses for the prosecution are therefore trying every means possible to paint the accused in a suspicious light as enemies of the state. This means alleging that Kalmykova and Ionov called out anti-government slogans and were generally engaged in protests against the authorities (although this is not what they are charged with, and it is not even against the law). However, the prosecution reserved their most damning indictments for Dadin, noting that he had talked to his relatives and neighbours about a coup d’état (although this has not been confirmed by witnesses) and had travelled to Kiev (a fact which was even mentioned in the ruling).
Translated by Joanne Reynolds