‘Team Navalny’ members detained in multiple Russian cities over the past two days
The authorities in multiple Russian cities have detained several members of “Team Navalny” over the past two days. Moreover, on April 12, two employees of the newly opened campaign headquarters in Makhachkala were reported missing. These arrests and disappearances have been accompanied by searches of the Team Navalny headquarters in St. Petersburg and Voronezh, while the campaign office in Murmansk was left with property damage after a break-in.
Alexey Navalny’s associates have reported the arrests and disappearances of their team members in several Russian regions over the past two days.
On Tuesday, April 13, police officers in St. Petersburg detained Irina Fatyanova, the coordinator of Navalny’s local campaign office. At the police station, it became known that Fatyanova stands accused of an administrative offense — organizing an unauthorized protest on January 31 (a violation of Administrative Code article 20.2, section 2). Fatyanova is facing charges for sharing a video announcing a rally on VKontakte. She is being held at the police station pending trial. This is the second time the police have visited Team Navalny’s St. Petersburg headquarters in the past week — on April 7, officers searched the premises for “extremist materials and pyrotechnics.”
Andrey Akhmedulov, who works for Navalny’s campaign office in Voronezh, was also detained on April 13. According to Navalny’s Voronezh team, the activist was on his way to pick up stickers from the printer when an unknown man “pushed [Akhmedulov] into a white GAZelle [van] and took him away to an unknown destination” — moreover, there was an eyewitness to the incident. It soon emerged that Akhmedulov was at a local police station. Later, police officers came to the Voronezh campaign office to conduct an inspection.
Meanwhile, Team Navalny’s new office in Makhachkala has reported the disappearance of two of its employees — coordinator Eduard Atayev and his aide Murad Manapov. They stopped answering their phones on Monday, April 12, and when Navalny’s associates contacted local police stations they were told that Atayev and Manapov weren’t in their custody. Navalny’s Makhachkala headquarters had opened the day before, marking his team’s second attempt to start work in Dagestan. When plans to open the campaign office were first announced in February, the team’s lead, Ruslan Ablyakimov, was beaten up in a Makhachkala suburb a few hours later.
Update. Eduard Atayev and Murad Manapov have been placed under administrative arrest and are being held in special detention centers in Dagestan, activist Ruslan Ablyakimov reported on Tuesday evening. Manapov is serving three days in jail in Makhachkala and will be released tomorrow evening, while Atayev is serving ten days in a special detention center in Khasavyurt, Ablyakimov said.
Also on April 12, the deputy coordinator of Navalny’s Murmansk headquarters, Alexander Surinov, was detained at the airport on suspicion of drug trafficking. He was released after his belongings were searched. In addition, unknown persons broke into the Murmansk campaign office when no one was there. Team Navalny’s local coordinator, Violetta Grudina, said that the wires of their surveillance cameras were cut, office furniture was damaged, and a swastika was drawn on the walls. Grudina felt confident that the incident is related to her plans to run for city council.
Update. Later in the day on April 13, reports emerged that state prosecutors are seeking a three year sentence in a maximum security prison for the former coordinator of Navalny’s Arkhangelsk office, Andrey Borovikov. In September 2020, Borovikov was charged with criminal distribution of pronography over a clip of a Rammstein music video he posted online in 2014. An Arkhangelsk district court will announce the verdict in Borovikov’s case on April 30.
Translated by Eilish Hart