The newspaper Novaya Gazeta says its learned the identity of another police informant who helped build the controversial extremism case against the “Novoe Velichie” (New Greatness) extremist movement. The lawyer for one of the suspects told journalists that a woman named Olga Pshenichnikova went by the code name “Koshka” (Kitty). Pshenichnikova allegedly socialized with the group’s members early on and reported back to the police.
After leaving the group, a man named Alexander Konstantinov (going by the name “Ruslan D.”) supposedly replaced Pshenichnikova as the authorities’ mole. Relatives of the suspects say Konstantinov acted as the group’s accountant and framed the other members for plotting acts of extremism. Novaya Gazeta claims that the police had another three informants embedded in the Novoe Velichie movement.
According to the suspects and their parents, what police say was a dangerous extremist movement was in fact a loose social group that emerged from like-minded teens hanging out at the same McDonald’s. Investigators believe the youngsters were plotting to “overthrow Russia’s constitutional order,” using leaflets and Telegram chat messages.
Ten people now face felony charges in the case, including two young women — Anna Pavlikova and Maria Dubovik — whose mothers mobilized a civic movement that successfully pressured the authorities into transferring the girls from jail to house arrest. Dmitry Poletaev, a 30-year-old man who’s also a suspect, hasn’t been so lucky. On August 19, he made a desperate (and, so far, fruitless) public appeal for help to get out of jail.