Yekaterinburg woman convicted of using TikTok to organize ‘unlawful assembly’
A court in Yekaterinburg has fined a local woman 20,000 rubles ($270) for trying to organize an unpermitted protest through the video-sharing social network TikTok. According to the newspaper Kommersant, Kristina Altshuler shared a message on TikTok on July 29, calling on city residents to gather outside the Sverdlovsky Drama Theater to support protesters in Khabarovsk. The video attracted almost 190,000 views and 31,000 likes, says the news website Znak.com.
Altshuler says she wanted to support demonstrators in Khabarovsk but argues that she merely urged people in Yekaterinburg “to meet up and feed the pigeons.” She told the newspaper Novaya Gazeta that TikTok administrators deleted her post within a day and then blocked her account completely.
Since July 11, Khabarovsk residents have protested against the arrest of Governor Sergey Furgal, whom police suspect of ordering multiple contract killings before he entered politics. President Putin subsequently dismissed Furgal as the region’s governor. In cities across the country, groups of people have turned out to show support for Khabarovsk’s demonstrators, gathering in public spaces “to feed the pigeons” in order to circumvent Russia’s largely draconian restrictions on public assemblies.
On August 24, a court in Barnaul fined a local woman 10,000 rubles ($135) for sharing a video on TikTok captioned “We’re feeding the pigeons on August 8 — they’re getting hungry.”