Skip to main content

Anti-Corruption Foundation member arrested on extremism charges

Source: Pavel Chikov

Pavel Zelensky, a member of Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), has been remanded in custody on extremism charges until February 28.

Zelensky was taken from his home to the Moscow branch of the federal Investigative Committee earlier in the day on Friday, January 15, the FBK’s head of legal, Vyacheslav Gimadi, told Mediazona. 

Initially, the reason for Zelensky’s arrest was unknown. Without citing any sources, the Telegram channel Kremlevskaya Pravda first reported that Zelensky was facing criminal charges for inciting extremism online (under article 280, section 2 of the Russian Criminal Code)

Pavel Chikov, the head of the human rights organization “Agora,” later confirmed that Zelensky is suspected of inciting extremism — allegedly over a tweet about the death of Irina Slavina, a Russian journalist who died by suicide in October of last year.

According to Chikov, law enforcement officers searched Zelensky’s home this morning, and seized his laptop and cell phone. Zelensky also complained that security officers hit him on the head — the ambulance doctors who examined him said he needed to be hospitalized, but this was prohibited by state investigators, Chikov added.

Later in the day, Chikov published a copy of the decision to open a criminal case against Zelensky. The document (pictured below) is dated December 28, 2020.

Zelensky appeared before Moscow Presnensky Court on Friday evening. The court’s decision to remand him in custody until the end of February was reported to Pavel Chikov by lawyer Mansur Gilmanov.