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Russian investigators launch criminal case over alleged attempt to orchestrate ‘mass riots’ during elections via Telegram

The Russian Investigative Committee launched a criminal case over an alleged attempt to orchestrate “mass riots” during voting in this weekend’s State Duma elections, the agency announced on Thursday, September 16.

In a press release, state investigators named “Dmitry Chebanov and other individuals” as the suspects in the case, adding that they are seeking to have these persons jailed pending trial. 

“A group of individuals consisting of no less than 11 participants from 7 regions of Russia created a network of Telegram channels, in which they posted publications and carried out agitation aimed at organizing mass riots on the territory of the Russian Federation during the day of unified voting from September 17 to 19, 2021.”

According to the State news agency TASS Dmitry Chebanov is the founder of the Telegram “Chto-Delat!”. 

The rights group Apologia Protesta identified another one of the suspects in the case as Moscow resident Maria Platonova. On the morning of September 16, law enforcement raided Platonova’s home, after which she was taken to the Investigative Committee for questioning. 

Maria Platonova is a student at HSE’s Art and Design School, who also works for municipal deputy Anastasia Bryukhanova’s electoral campaign. “Maria Platonova denies any involvement in the incriminated events,” Apologia Protesta wrote on Telegram.

In early September, activists Dmitry Chebanov and Alexander Kuranin were arrested for attempting to hang a banner on the building of the “Detsky Mir” store in Moscow. According to OVD-Info, the two activists were charged with disobeying police and sentenced to 15 days in jail.

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