‘I should have said: not yet’ During Saturday’s protests in St. Petersburg, a police officer kicked a woman in the gut and sent her to the ICU. Now she regrets accepting his apology.
On Saturday, January 23, a police officer in St. Petersburg brutally kicked a woman to the ground during a rally in defense of the jailed opposition figure Alexey Navalny. The woman, 54-year-old Margarita Yudina, had tried to confront three officers in riot gear who were escorting a detained protester to a police van. After footage (warning: this video contains disturbing content) of the attack circulated online, the city’s police department and district attorney’s office announced separate preliminary inquiries. On January 25, the news outlet 47 News published an interview with Ms. Yudina, which Meduza summarizes below.
I live in the town of Luga, outside St. Petersburg, with my children: two sons, ages 25 and 20, and a 15-year-old daughter. I don’t know where their fathers are. [Child services] wanted to take away my kids, saying our family is dysfunctional. I barely managed to leave with them and reach Germany, where we lived with friends and I earned money doing translations. We returned to Russia in 2017. My daughter doesn’t go to school here, God forbid — she’s studying remotely at a Dutch college (where it’s free). Until recently, I worked as a secretary at a military base, but then there was this story with a felony defamation case and they fired me. Now I’m earning money as a math tutor. Our family of four lives on 10,000 rubles ($130) a month. And I’m making payments on two loans. My family was hit by Stalin’s repressions — my father was a dissident. I’ve been following Navalny since 2011 or 2012. I rode into St. Petersburg on January 23 specifically for the rally. The impoverishment of people, the collapse of the healthcare system, the zombification of people through television — it all outrages me. I stood up for the people being arrested because they did nothing wrong. All I remember is a boot flying at me and then it’s all a fog. I woke up at the hospital. The whole day, they were asking me to forgive the officer who kicked me. They moved me from the ICU to a room so the police colonel could come and apologize. They persuaded me to forgive the policeman; they said he’s one of the best. I’m a gentle soul and I forgave him, but now I think I should have said: when you release all the political prisoners — Navalny included — then I’ll forgive you.
Read the entire interview here (in Russian).
Cover photo: 47news