Activist charged under 'anti-protest law' flees Russia

Civil activist, Iryna Kalmykova, who is accused of repeated violations of the procedure for the holding of protests, has left Russia with her son.

“Hurrah! I’m in Ukraine,” wrote Kalmykova on one of her social networking pages.  She is currently in Kiev.  Moscow’s Tverskoy Court’s hearing on her case should have been held on Monday, but was adjourned to February 4th due to her absence.

The case was brought against Kalmykova on June 8th.  The activist faces up to five years’ imprisonment under Article 212.1 of the Criminal Code.  She was under house arrest and had signed an agreement not to leave her place of residence.

She is accused of violating Article 212.1, the anti-protest legislation, on four occasions, the first of which was an uncoordinated march through Myasnitskaya Street which was held on December 5th, 2014.  She used the slogan “Yesterday Kiev – tomorrow Moscow” during the march.  

The second episode was an uncoordinated picket in support of Nadiya Savchenko and other political prisoners. This was held on January 26th, 2015 at Lubyanka Square.

The third episode entailed Kalmykova being involved in an assembly in support of prisoners of the Bolotnaya Square case. This is a criminal case by the Russian Investigative Committee on the counts of an alleged mass riot and alleged violence against police during the March of the Millions on May 6th, 2012.  These alleged events took place on Bolotnaya Square in Moscow.  Kalmykova was sentenced to six days of arrest for her participation in the assembly, despite the presence of her underage son. The Court of Appeal reversed this decision.

The fourth and final episode of which she was accused was her involvement in an uncoordinated rally to defend small businesses.  This was held on May 26th in close proximity to the building of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of the Russian Federation.

However, Kalmykova stated in her commentary to Grani that the initiation of these proceedings would not affect her protest activity.  “I will never stop attending street rallies,” she said.

On October 1, Kalmykova refused to plead guilty during the first hearing of her case.  When Judge Maria Sizintseva asked Kalmykova whether the charge was clear, Kalmykova stated, “I don't steal, I don't kill.  The Constitution gave me freedom of assembly.  The President violated the Constitution when he was elected for the third term in office”.  Judge Sizintseva then interrupted Kalmykova’s speech with the words, “We don’t consider the powers of the President.”

On December 7th, the Judge of Basmanny Court of Moscow, Natalya Dudar issued the first verdict under Article 212.1 of the Criminal Code, which states that it is illegal to hold unsanctioned demonstrations in Russia.  This was included in the Criminal Code in 2014.  Judge Dudar sentenced the activist Ildar Dadin to three years’ imprisonment.

The trial against another civil activist, 76-year-old Vladimir Ionov has been ongoing since September.   On November 25th, during the debates in the trial, the Prosecutor requested three years’ conditional imprisonment with a three-year probation period for the accused, prohibition to leave Moscow as well as prohibition from attending mass rallies.  Vladimir Ionov stated in his interview to Grani that he will not observe these restrictions.

On December 21th, Ionov reported that he had escaped to Ukraine.  The activist illegally crossed the Russian-Ukrainian border and he is in now believed to be in Kharkov with his friend, Olga Brown. Ionov plans to file for political asylum in Ukraine.

On Tuesday, the Preobrazhensky District Court of Moscow granted the request of the State Prosecutor and returned Ionov’s case to the Prosecutor’s Office.  In doing so, Vladimir Ionov was declared a wanted man. 



  Russia, lawsuits