Vladimir Putin launched the "witch hunt"

George Marinescu
English Section / 29 martie

Source: ES Composite

Source: ES Composite

Versiunea în limba română

Despite the accusatory statements against Ukraine after the terrorist attack at Crocus Hall a week ago, Vladimir Putin and the FSB have not yet been able to present to the world any connection between the four ISIS terrorists and the authorities in Kiev. Basically, Vladimir Putin throws accusations into the void, rambles, and in the light of the lack of eloquent evidence of Ukraine's involvement, he went on to punish his own citizens for the crime of opinion.

Practically in Russia you are no longer allowed to express a contrary opinion in relation to the attack, that you are immediately called to the Police, if you are not previously picked up from the street or from the airport, investigated because you are not in line with official communication and sent before the court which approves the arrest warrant or any substantial criminal fine.

Meanwhile, the lawyers who have to defend the Crocus Hall terrorists are threatened by Putin fans, but no one calls the threats to the Police or to court.

Moreover, judges in troubled regions are being arrested and prosecuted for favoring terrorist groups, and companies that have hired foreign workers from Asia are under scrutiny by Russian authorities.

It can be said that the Kremlin authorities have started a witch hunt, in the desire expressed by President Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev, the vice-president of the National Security Council of the Russian Federation, to hold accountable all those who supported the attack, whether only by the sympathy shown to such an act.

For Putin and his henchmen, it no longer matters that Belarusian officials say that the terrorists were heading towards that country after the attack and not to Ukraine, that the US and France claim that Ukraine has nothing to do with the attack, that Germany says through Chancellor Olaf Scholz that it does not had prior information regarding the Crocus Hall attack, that ISIS had repeatedly claimed responsibility for the attack, and even threatened an even bigger one. The President of the Russian Federation claims with his underlings in the Kremlin that Ukraine and the West are to blame for the deaths and injuries at Crocus Hall. Moreover, to be credible, yesterday afternoon the officials of the investigative commission announced, according to Kommersant and Ria Novosti, that they had arrested a suspect - without giving any name - who would have been involved in the financing scheme of the terrorist attack. According to the investigators, the perpetrators of the terrorist attack allegedly received sums of money and cryptocurrencies from Ukraine, from "Ukrainian nationalists", to finance the preparation of the Crocus Hall operation.

It is strange that, although almost a week has passed since the tragedy at Crocus Hall, President Vladimir Putin has not visited the site to see the aftermath of the terrorist attack. A visit by President Vladimir Putin would be inappropriate because of ongoing work at the site of the terrorist attack, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by Kommersant.

Peskov stated: "Of course, nowadays, making such a visit is completely impractical, because it would simply interfere with the activities taking place on the ground."

Tadjik citizen, expelled from Russia for belonging to a group on the Telegram network

Thus, the Primorsky District Court in Saint Petersburg decided to expel from Russia a citizen from Tajikistan who was part of a group established on the Telegram network, a group through which the perpetrators of last week's terrorist attack were allegedly recruited, Kommersant daily reports. In addition to being deported for violating the migration law, Akhmad Faizulokhonzoda also had to pay a fine of 5,000 rubles.

Russian authorities claim: "On January 19, 2024, the defendant arrived in the Russian Federation, received a work permit, was registered for migration and lives in a boarding house. He was not registered at the place of real residence".

Daria Lebedeva, head of the joint press service of the courts of St. Petersburg, however, showed that it was not this that attracted the attention of the state law enforcement agencies, but the fact that in the group on the Telegram channel, in which Akhmad Faizulokhonzodu is a member, "emissaries of the organization terrorist group ISIS is recruiting people to carry out terrorist attacks in the Russian Federation".

A source cited by RIA Novosti claimed that all four alleged perpetrators of the Crocus Hall terrorist attack (Dalerjon Mirzoev, Rachabalizoda Saidakrami Murodali, Shamsidin Fariduni and Muhammadsobir Fayzov) could have been recruited through the Voice of Khorasan group on the network Telegram, a channel that would belong to the Afghan wing of the Islamic State. Currently, that group has been deleted from the Telegram network, the cited publication says.

Kremlin authorities announced that they had blocked 11 groups on the Telegram network that had more posts threatening new terrorist attacks.

Restorer, arrested for the crime of opinion in connection with the terrorist attack

A St. Petersburg restaurateur has been remanded in custody for comments about last week's bombing. According to prosecutors, Nikolai Konashenko published on his personal page on a social network several posts about the Crocus Hall attack, posts from which captures were made that also appeared on the Telegram network, although the author later deleted them . Nikolai Konashenko was detained on the evening of March 25 at St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Airport as he was preparing to leave Russia.

According to the investigative bodies, at the police station, he said: "I made two posts on Facebook. In the first, I asked the question what would have happened if the terrorist attack had taken place not in Crocus City, but in the Kremlin. In the second, I asked why this attack happened at the concert of the Picnic group (ed. - pro-Putin musical group), and not some other musical group. (...) I apologize to everyone. I do not support terrorism."

On Wednesday, March 27, the Dzerzhinsky District Court in St. Petersburg, at the request of the Investigative Committee, charged 41-year-old Nikolai Konashenko with public justification of terrorism and ordered his arrest until May 25.

Following this incident, his wife, Roxana Shatunovskaya, was forced to resign as general manager of the New Holland art space in St. Petersburg.

Nikolai Konashenko, a former journalist, entered the business in 2014, he created the Zubrovka studio, where he restored furniture found in flea markets. His wife managed, apart from the New Holland space, several cultural institutions, including the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art.

Woman, prosecuted also for the crime of opinion

The cited sources also say that the police in the Lipetsk region have identified a woman who, during a stream on social networks, justified the terrorist attack at Crocus Hall. The police have searched the woman's residence, opened an investigation and will psychologically assess her, after which a procedural decision will be made. The woman's claims were seen by police officers who were monitoring what was happening live on the internet. They stated that the woman justified "recent events", moreover, demanded their execution.

The woman said: "I drank a lot and became aggressive. Of course I regret it. Under no circumstances do I want people to be killed. I said something that I probably wouldn't have said if I was in my right mind."

In addition to this, the police also detained a man from Bashkiria, who, according to Irina Volk, official representative of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, posted several videos on the Internet "in which he made statements justifying terrorism, inciting ethnic hatred and insulting the memory of the victims of the terrorist attack in the Moscow region".

Terrorists' lawyers, threatened by Putin's partisans

The Federal Chamber of Advocates yesterday demanded that the defenders of the terrorists should not be confused with those who carried out the attack, after Eva Merkacheva, a human rights activist, revealed that several unknown persons were threatening the lawyers who had been appointed to represents suspects in court, Kommersant reports.

The Chamber of Advocates stressed that it had not yet received complaints from colleagues, but admitted that there were "targeted statements" about the inadmissibility of legal protection for terrorists. The Chamber reminds that the right to qualified legal assistance is guaranteed by the Constitution, and without the participation of a lawyer, "not a single court decision can be considered an act of fair justice", states the quoted source.

A day earlier, a member of the Presidential Council for Human Rights and deputy columnist Eva Merkacheva said that the lawyers of those accused of the terrorist attack started receiving threats on social networks. According to her, unknown persons asked the defenders to refuse to participate in the case, threatening them that they and those close to them would suffer consequences. with them and their loved ones.

The president of the FPA, Svetlana Volodina, said: "Unfortunately, targeted statements were made that it is impossible to defend terrorists. I think people said this out of pain, out of desperation, and out of a misunderstanding of a lawyer's procedural role. There must be a lawyer in every criminal case, regardless of the serious crime the person is accused of. The point is that the law is followed. Trials must be conducted in conditions of competition between the parties - prosecution and defense. Then there is confidence in the evidence of the accusation".

For his part, Mikhail Tolcheev, the first vice-president of the FPA, told Kommersant: "It is unacceptable to associate a lawyer with the client to and with the justification of the acts committed by him. The law links the possibility of conducting investigations and procedural actions with the mandatory observance of the constitutional right to qualified legal assistance. Without this, no single court decision, no matter how fair it may seem, cannot be considered an act of fair justice. Therefore, our colleagues participating in this process should be treated like all other lawyers. They fulfill the function assigned to them by the Constitution and the law - they provide qualified legal assistance".

The publication Kommersant adds that in the recent history of the Russian Federation there is a precedent when appointed lawyers refused to defend those accused of terrorism. It is about lawyers from North Ossetia who were appointed to defend the terrorists who committed the attack on the school in Beslan in 2004, defenders who withdrew from the trial, and the state had to look for lawyers from other regions of Russia to defend the defendants.

Judges arrested, for links with a terrorist group

Media cited in the Russian Federation also say that FSB officers have detained the former judge of the Supreme Court of Ingushetia, Serghei Boychuk, and the former president of the Magas District Court of the same republic, Magomed Aushev. According to investigators, after receiving bribes from businessman Adam Kartoev, the two made a series of decisions in favor of members of the militant wing of the Batal-Khadzhi Belkhoroev terrorist group. Moreover, Serghei Boychuk tried to get a leadership position at the Zaporizhia regional court.

Yesterday, the two judges and their accomplice were remanded in custody by the Moscow Court. Magomed Aushev previously worked as a prosecutor in the Prosecutor's Office of Ingushetia and became a judge in 2009, while Serghei Boychuk was a judge of the Military Court in Groznyi.

The two were sanctioned at the end of last year for several disciplinary offenses and were kicked out of the judiciary, a decision which resulted in them losing their partial immunity as judges and being able to be detained by the FSB and prosecuted, journalists from Kommersant also show.

Foreign workers detained by the Russian authorities

After the Crocus Hall terror attack, Russian companies that hired staff from Central Asia found themselves facing a series of checks from state migration officials, retail and industry representatives told Kommersant. constructions. After such an inspection, which took place two days ago at the Wildberries warehouse in Elektrostal, Moscow region, 38 people were detained.

The cited source also shows that at the end of 2023, President Vladimir Putin estimated the number of foreign workers working in Russia at 10 million people. In January-October 2023, according to the FSB, 3.6 million foreigners entered Russia to look for a job. In the last year, only in Moscow, the courts gave 42,000 decisions regarding the expulsion of foreigners from Russia, said Oleg Baranov, representative of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, for the quoted source.

Another strange case is that of Nizhny Novgorod, where the parents of a 15-year-old girl, who received a scholarship for being a gifted child, were called to the Police after their daughter posted a video on a social network on Saturday, March 23, after the terrorist attack at Crocus Hall, footage of him saying: "Thank you so much to the terrorists who came to Crocus City, because I really needed to get drunk today. Due to the cancellation of my trip to Moscow that I was supposed to take tomorrow, I will be drinking for a week."

Following this video, Nizhny Novgorod police accused the parents of failing to fulfill their obligations regarding the upbringing of a minor.

We remind you that the terrorist attack at Crocus Hall, which took place on March 22 before the start of the Picnic band's concert, was claimed by the terrorist group ISIS-K. As a result of the attack, 143 people were killed and 360 people were injured, according to the latest data from Moscow, before the closing of the edition.