Searches were conducted in Kazan in the case of repeated discrediting of the army. A criminal case under article 280.3 of the RF Criminal Code was opened against Pavel Chumakov. As part of the investigation of the case, law-enforcement officers also searched the homes of Kazan-based opposition activists, the Sova Center reported in a dispatch to Kasparov.Ru on May 17.
In November 2022 Sovetsky District Court of Kazan fined Chumakov, whom some “Kazan militiamen in Novorossiya” called a bard, 30,000 rubles under an administrative charge of discrediting the army (Part 1, Article 20.3.3 of the Administrative Code) for comments critical of the Russian armed forces, and of President Vladimir Putin and his supporters personally. The Supreme Court of Tatarstan upheld the decision.
Chumakov was searched on May 12, after which he was released on his own recognizance not to leave. “Radio Liberty wrote with reference to the court’s decision that Pavel left several comments on VKontakte in which he wrote about the bombing of Ukrainian cities and called Vladimir Putin a maniac and his supporters – fascists.
On May 16, several journalists and activists were searched in Kazan, allegedly as part of an investigation into Chumakov’s criminal case. According to OVD-Info, searches were conducted in the apartments of journalist Nailya Mullaeva, activists Zulfiya Sitdikova, Vera Otreshko and another person who wished to remain anonymous.
However, according to Mullayeva and Atreshko, they do not know Chumakov.
Earlier, searches were conducted in the homes of Mullayeva, Sitdikova and Otreshko in connection with the case of justification of terrorism (Part 2 Article 205.2 of the Criminal Code), initiated in connection with the publication of the video “Paint and booth for the Russian Ambassador in Poland”. Mullaeva was also searched in the case of knowingly false information about a terrorist attack (Art. 207 of the Criminal Code). During the new searches Mullaeva and the activist were confiscated, among other things, letters and certificates from the activist, candidate of biological sciences Andrei Boyarshinov, accused under Part 2 Article 205.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.
Sova Center experts believe that the introduction of a ban on discrediting the actions of the Russian military and government agencies abroad was an unjustified restriction of the right to freedom of expression, designed to suppress criticism of the authorities’ political course. Human rights activists believe that prosecution under the relevant articles for statements that do not contain direct calls to violence is unlawful.