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Russia’s Investigative Committee presses extremism charges against blogger

Vladislav Sinitsa posted threats via Twitter against children of police officers and National Guard members who provided law and order at banned rallies

MOSCOW, August 4. /TASS/. Russia’s Investigative Committee has detained and charged blogger Vladislav Sinitsa, who - under the nickname of Maks Steklov - posted threats via Twitter against children of police officers and National Guard members who provided law and order at banned rallies, the committee’s Spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko told reporters on Sunday.

"Having checked posts on a social networking site that called for violence against children of law enforcers, the Main Investigative Department of Moscow’s Investigative Committee launched a criminal investigation in accordance with Item A Part 2 Article 282 of Russia’s Criminal Code (public instigation of hatred or enmity against a group of persons with a threat of violence)," Petrenko said.

Under the article, the maximum penalty could be up to six years in prison.

Detectives established the identity of the person, who used the alias of Maks Steklov for social media. The 30-year-old lives outside Moscow and his name is Vladislav Sinitsa.

"He has already been charged with this offence," Petrenko said.


The investigation says that on July 31 Sinitsa posted calls to the social media "urging a wide range of people to begin illegal acts of violence against law enforcers’ children." The Investigative Committee believes that his actions pursued a goal "of instigating hostility and hatred against all law enforcers and their families."

The suspect’s home was searched and his computer and mobile phones confiscated.

"In the criminal investigation, the detectives will give an impartial and principal assessment to the accused person’s actions and will look into his possible complicity in other offences," Petrenko said.

Under a Twitter post saying that identities of police officers were being identified in the social media, Sinitsa wrote threats to the children of law enforcers who ensured law and order in Moscow. He suggested that it was a way to avenge the authorities for their response to unsanctioned protests. He also confirmed that he himself took part in them.

Threats to police officers’ children aroused outrage among social networkers. Many of them urged the Russian Investigative Committee and Interior Ministry to respond in kind to them.

Unsanctioned rallies on August 3

According to the Moscow police press service, on Saturday police and National Guard detained about 600 people for participation in a 1,500-strong unauthorized event. The authorities had warned the protesters beforehand about their responsibility and the inadmissibility to break the law. Police cautioned them that provocations could be highly likely at the banned rally and urged both Muscovites and visitors to refrain from participating in it.

Moscow’s Prosecutor Office opened an administrative investigation against 15 unregistered candidates to the Moscow City Duma, who had organized unsanctioned rallies on July 14 and 27 ignoring a watchdog’s warning.

After the unsanctioned rally of July 27, a criminal investigation was opened in accordance with Part 1 Article 318 (violence against a public official) and Part 2 Article 212 (participation in mass unrest) of Russia’s Criminal Code. According to the Investigative Committee, more than 10 citizens were involved in these offences, as they took the most active part in organizing and holding mass unrest in the city center. Six of them have already been arrested in court.