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Police in cities across Russia arrest people for online comments about Moscow terrorist attack

Source: Meduza
Anatoly Maltsev / EPA / Scanpix / LETA

An elderly resident of Ola, a village in Russia’s Far Eastern Magadan region, is facing up to seven years in prison after being charged with “publicly justifying terrorism” in the aftermath of the Crocus City Hall terrorist attack.

Local police reported the pensioner’s arrest on March 28, stating that police and Federal Security Service (FSB) officers detained the 75-year-old with support from a Special Rapid Response Unit (SOBR) of the Russian National Guard. 

According to the police statement, the suspect allegedly “endorsed” last Friday’s terrorist attack in a message sent to a group chat. Though police officers have yet to identify the man in question, they posted a video that purports to show the suspect, whose face is blurred, confessing to commenting on a video of the attack and expressing regret over his words. 

“I did something stupid,” the man in the video says. A voice off camera then prompts him as he explains that he made a comment along the lines of, “They should have taken out more of those parasites.” The suspect was later released on his own recognizance. 

The 75-year-old suspect is one of several people in cities across Russia facing felony charges for allegedly justifying the terrorist attack, which killed at least 143 people at the Crocus City Hall concert venue outside Moscow. 

In Bashkortostan, police arrested blogger Rustam Absalyamov on criminal charges of justifying terrorism over comments he made during a livestream. According to the Telegram channel Ostorozhno Novosti, Absalyamov said that Bashkortostan “was not in mourning” and called for “blowing up Moscow.” (A police spokesperson told RIA Novosti that Absalyamov was drunk when he conducted the broadcast.)

In St. Petersburg, investigators brought felony charges of justifying terrorism against a 26-year-old citizen of Tajikistan over comments about the attack he allegedly made online. 

In Nizhny Novgorod, police brought misdemeanor charges against the parents of a teenager who said in a video that she was “grateful” for the terrorist attack because it meant she didn’t have to travel to Moscow. 

Earlier, on March 25, St. Petersburg police arrested Nikolai Konashenok over a Facebook post about the Crocus City Hall attack. Among other things, Konashenok wrote, “Why Crocus and not the Kremlin?” He was subsequently charged with the felony of justifying terrorism.

Konashenok’s arrest provoked a scandal that led his wife, Roksana Shatunovskaya, to resign from her post as general director of St. Petersburg’s New Holland cultural space. A St. Petersburg court placed Konashenok under pre-trial detention on March 27. 


‘Why Crocus and not the Kremlin?’ Head of St. Petersburg cultural space resigns over husband’s provocative Facebook post about terrorist attack


‘Why Crocus and not the Kremlin?’ Head of St. Petersburg cultural space resigns over husband’s provocative Facebook post about terrorist attack

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