Moscow students petition rector to defend classmate repeatedly arrested as part of crackdown on anarchists
The student council of the Department of Mechanics and Mathematics at Moscow State University has publicly petitioned the university’s rector, Viktor Sadovnichy, to step into the case surrounding graduate student Azat Miftakhov. Miftakhov, who is allegedly involved in the anarchist movement “The People’s Self-Defense,” has been arrested repeatedly since the beginning of this month. He was first accused of preparing an explosive device that was later found to be fake and then detained in a case surrounding the vandalism of an office belonging to United Russia, Russia’s ruling political party. Student activists have repeatedly demanded his release.
In today’s petition, students in Miftakhov’s department requested that Sadovnichy contact Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), Investigative Committee, Prosecutor General, and Ministry of Internal Affairs to demand a “fair and objective investigation.” They also asked the rector to request that the identities of the officers who tortured Miftakhov after his arrest be revealed.
At least six members of the People’s Self-Defense movement were arrested this month along with Miftakhov, but he was the only one to be detained on court orders. Multiple activists who were arrested told journalists they had been tortured in custody, and anarchist activists believe they may become the next target of a large-scale state crackdown reminiscent of the “New Greatness” case that targeted teenagers in 2018.