The first person in Russia arrested for ‘undesirable’ activism just lost her daughter to bronchitis complications
Anastasia Shevchenko now has two unpleasant distinctions. On January 21, she became the first person in Russia to be arrested for the felony offense of working for an illegal “undesirable organization,” which could land her in prison for up to six years. On January 31, Shevchenko became the first person facing these charges to lose a child, when her 17-year-old daughter, Alina, succumbed to complications resulting from bronchitis, dying after a long battle with lung problems.
Shevchenko’s house arrest was recently extended to March 20, after a judge refused to release her on bail for 500,000 rubles ($7,665). After initial reports that the court denied her request to visit her dying daughter in the hospital, Shevchenko was ultimately allowed to be at her daughter’s hospital bedside the night before she died.
Anastasia Shevchenko is charged with working for the banned organizations “Open Russia Civic Movement” and “OR (Otkrytaya Rossia),” both of which are registered in Britain. She is actually an activist with the similarly named Russian civic movement “Open Russia,” whose members deny any formal ties to the outlawed groups, though they all owe their origins to the former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
In an emotional Telegram post, former Duma deputy turned anti-Kremlin oppositionist Dmitry Gudkov blamed the girl’s death on the authorities, calling it “cold-blooded murder.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on January 30, however, that he was unaware of the criminal case against Anastasia Shevchenko.