Human rights movement files police report against Russian reactionary group infamous for harassing oppositionists
Lev Ponomarev, who heads the “For Human Rights” movement, says he’s filed a police report against the reactionary right-wing group “SERB,” following its repeated efforts to disrupt his movement's work. Most recently, SERB members raided Ponomarev’s office in Moscow on August 22, chanting accusations that his team promotes extremism instead of humanitarianism. Ponomarev says he wants to meet with police to discuss these “unacceptable actions.”
SERB activist Igor Brumel, meanwhile, says he would like a seat at the table when Ponomarev has his meeting, arguing that “For Human Rights” is actually a front for a “destructive, extremist movement” that tries to “inflate all kinds of scandals.” Brumel also says SERB will continue to harass human rights activists, so long as the group’s leaders believe it’s necessary.
SERB is known for its brazen attacks on members of Russia’s anti-Kremlin opposition. A SERB activist is suspected of spraying antiseptic in the eyes of politician Alexey Navalny in 2017. The group has also repeatedly ripped down memorial plaques in Moscow dedicated to slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov and defaced controversial works of art in Moscow and St. Petersburg galleries.
In November 2017, a former SERB activist told Dozhd television that the Russian Interior Ministry’s Anti-Extremism Unit previously supervised the group, coordinating its actions and determining how much violence it should inflict on oppositionists.