Note from the Russian Reader:
Once upon a time in another fairy tale kingdom, I made a silly resolution that I would grow a beard and keep it until my sisters and brothers in HERE Locals 34 and 35 won their strike against Yale University and got a new contract.
The strike ended ages ago, and the unions won their contract, but I still have the beard.
This testifies to something perverse about me, but that’s neither here nor there.
I’ve made a similar resolution in connection with the horrifying grand guignol known as the Network case a.k.a. the Penza-Petersburg “terrorism” case.
I won’t stop writing and translating articles about it until the story breaks through the seemingly impenetrable barrier that has so far kept it almost entirely invisible in the international press. I won’t stop translating and posting articles about it until the dozen innocent young men caught up in this tale of torture and justice travestied every way to Sunday are cleared of all charges and released from prison.
So far, I’ve published 54 stories about the case and other cases that shed light on the current mess in Russia, a mess that makes it way too easy for things like this to happen.
Fifty-four is not a round number nor, apparently, has it been enough.
But since Katya Kosarevskaya and Yana Teplitskaya—two young mathematicians who serve on the Petersburg Public Commission for Monitoring Conditions in Places of Incarceration and essentially opened the window on this case and a lot of other unsavory practices in Petersburg’s jails and the dungeons of the Petersburg FSB—have more solidarity and fight in them than all the rest of us combined, it’s the least I can do to keep on doing what I do best.
Feel free to join me, whatever you think about my perverse character.
Despite what you might think, in reality the Putin regime and its police state minions really, really hate publicity when it comes to their misdeeds and crimes. Publicizing the Network case and showing solidarity with Viktor Filinkov, Yuli Boyarshinov and the other framed and tortured suspects in the case will, in fact, help keep them safe and, ultimately, lead to their exoneration.
It’s not a matter of faith. It’s a matter of numbers, effort, and time.
Viktor Filinkov has arrived in Petersburg. He’s now in Remand Prison No. 4 on Lebedev Street, but apparently he will be transferred from there to Remand Prison No. 3 on Shpalernaya Street. Yana Teplitskaya and I chatted with him for two hours until lights out.
And yesterday Roma and I chatted with Yuli Boyarshinov.
Viktor’s in a very sad state, healthwise.
He took ill at every stop along the way during his convoy without having recovered from the previous stop. In Yaroslavl on Friday, before the last leg of his journey, Viktor was suddenly unable to walk. He doesn’t understand what it could have been, and he has never had anything like it before. His cellmates summoned the doctor. Viktor was taken to the dispensary. He was brought to his senses with smelling salts, given an injection of something, and left there until it was time to go.
It took three days for Viktor to get to Petersburg. They were on the road from Saturday to Tuesday, traveling only at night. During the day, the train car in which he was convoyed stood unheated and idle on the tracks.
He says he was really glad to go to Penza and hang out with [all the other prisoners in the Network case], although he did not enjoy the trip itself. The Penza Remand Prison was at such pains to show that none of the suspects in the Network case were being tortured anymore that every evening all ten suspects were inspected. They were forced to strip and undergo a full look-over, after which they were told to sign their names in a notebook. Viktor got tired of signing his name, so he took to drawing smileys, but no one followed his lead.
I wonder what it will mean when the wardens stop keeping this notebook.
Viktor told us about other remand prisons as well. He told us about Larissa the rat. He thought one inmate had made friends with her, but then he woke up and, finding the rat at the foot of his bed, moved to a top bunk.
It transpired that the censor at the Nizhny Novgorod Remand Prison expunged not only the phrase “Public Monitoring Commission” from Yana’s letters but everything else he found unfamiliar, including “vegan,” “Homo sapiens,” and “transhumanism.”
Viktor also told us Yegor Skovoroda had written to him in a postcard that he was a nudnik. Viktor wrote a three-page letter proving it wasn’t the case, but then he thought better of it and didn’t mail the letter.
Yana and I tried to recall the latest news. We told Viktor about Saturday’s protest rallies, about our latest report, about who had successfully defended their dissertation (it wasn’t me), and who still hadn’t defended their dissertation and could thus invite Viktor to their defense (that would be me).
Yuli is in Remand Prison No. 3 on Shpalernaya Street and is fine. The only thing is that the prison’s censor has again gone on holiday, so Yuli doesn’t get any letters. So far he hasn’t received a single letter in Shpalernaya.
The censor at Remand Prison No. 4 has also gone on holiday.
UPDATE: I forgot to write that when we were traveling to Remand Prison No. 3 yesterday, Yana and I agreed that if I found out Viktor was there, I would exit the prison and telephone her so that she could travel there, too. I was worried I would waste a lot of time getting my telephone out of the box at the entrance to the prison, turning it on, and entering all the passwords. It transpired that Viktor was not there, but someone had made sure I didn’t waste any time. My telephone was turned on, and the password entry window was on the screen.
Translated by the Russian Reader
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What can you do to support the Penza and Petersburg antifascists and anarchists tortured and imprisoned by the FSB?
Donate money to the Anarchist Black Cross via PayPal (firstname.lastname@example.org). Make sure to specify your donation is earmarked for “Rupression.”
Spread the word about the Network Case aka the Penza-Petersburg “terrorism” case. You can find more information about the case and in-depth articles translated into English on this website (see below), rupression.com, and openDemocracyRussia.
Organize solidarity events where you live to raise money and publicize the plight of the tortured Penza and Petersburg antifascists. Go to the website It’s Going Down to find printable posters and flyers you can download. You can also read more about the case there.
If you have the time and means to design, produce, and sell solidarity merchandise, please write to email@example.com.
Write letters and postcards to the prisoners. Letters and postcards must be written in Russian or translated into Russian. You can find the addresses of the prisoners here.
Design a solidarity postcard that can be printed and used by others to send messages of support to the prisoners. Send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Write letters of support to the prisoners’ loved ones via email@example.com.
Translate the articles and information at rupression.com and this website into languages other than Russian and English, and publish your translations on social media and your own websites and blogs.
If you know someone famous, ask them to record a solidarity video, write an op-ed piece for a mainstream newspaper or write letters to the prisoners.
If you know someone who is a print, internet, TV or radio journalist, encourage them to write an article or broadcast a report about the case. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org or the email listed on this website, and we will be happy to arrange interviews and provide additional information.
It is extremely important this case break into the mainstream media both in Russia and abroad. Despite their apparent brashness, the FSB and their ilk do not like publicity. The more publicity the case receives, the safer our comrades will be in remand prison from violence at the hands of prison stooges and torture at the hands of the FSB, and the more likely the Russian authorities will be to drop the case altogether or release the defendants for time served if the case ever does go to trial.
Why? Because the case is a complete frame-up, based on testimony obtained under torture and mental duress. When the complaints filed by the accused reach the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and are examined by actual judges, the Russian government will again be forced to pay heavy fines for its cruel mockery of justice.
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If you have not been following the Penza-Petersburg “terrorism” case and other recent cases involving frame-ups, torture, and violent intimidation by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) and other arms of the Russian police state, read and disseminate recent articles the Russian Reader has posted on these subjects.