Dmitry Petelin, the Moscow State University student who graffitied “NO TO THE FAN ZONE” on a sign advertising the controversial on-campus soccer-celebration area, has been fined 1,500 ($24) for petty hooliganism. On June 1, police pulled two students out of class, investigating the vandalism incident. The officers reportedly read through their Telegram messages and then summoned Petelin for questioning, later charging him with criminal vandalism. On June 9, prosecutors announced that they’d dropped the charges, after reviewing the evidence and receiving an appeal from the university’s rector, Viktor Sadovnichy.
Many Moscow State University students have protested against the “fan zone” opened on campus during this summer’s FIFA World Cup, saying the noise and commotion interrupts their studies.
But Rector Viktor Sadovnichy might not be the guardian angel in this story that he seems. On Wednesday, an advocacy group at the university said the school’s administration has worked closely with law enforcementagainst students protesting the fan zone. “The administration hasn’t been above the dirtiest tricks,” the group said in a statement, accusing Sadovnichy of orchestrating “planted stories, hacked social media accounts, anonymous threats, surveillance, and pressure on parents.”