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Administrative case against Voronezh activist for picketing after the end of the World Cup

Alexander Boldyrev (on the right)
by Vladislav Khodakovskiy
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On August 7, Voronezh civil activist Alexander Boldyrev picketed in the city hyde park; a report on the administrative offense was compiled. At the picket, he invited the townspeople to a coordinated rally against raising the retirement age. On August 8, activist Vladislav Khodakovskiy wrote about it on his «7x7» blog.

Police officers have drawn up a protocol on an administrative offense for holding uncoordinated public event.

The police had drawn upon the order of the Voronezh mayor of May 24, 2018, in which he appointed new hyde parks for the time of the World Cup. Voronezh activist Boris Suprenok sued to recognize this order unlawful, but the Voronezh Central District Court did not recognize his right to freedom of assembly violated. And the mayor's order, according to respondents, "does not impose restrictions on rights and prohibitions." On July 30, the mayor declared his previous order on rallies in the city as invalid.

The activist Khodakovskiy gave two explanations in his blog: "Either representatives of the Voronezh mayor's office and the prosecutor's office misled the court on July 6, assuring that there were no restrictions on the actions in the hyde parks, or there were no grounds for the protocol [of the administrative violation]".

He sent inquiries to the Voronezh mayor's office and the prosecutor's office asking why law enforcement authorities decided to hold Boldyrev responsible for picketing if in court the authorities replied that the mayor's order to change the hyde parks was an internal document of the department.

Alexander Boldyrev states in the protocol that he does not consider himself guilty of violating the laws on rallies for three reasons: 1) Voronezh did not host the events of the World Cup, 2) the mayor's decree does not restrict the right of citizens to conduct public events, 3) provisions on hyde parks are regulated by the regional law, and not by the documents of the mayoralty.

Voronezh human rights defender Natalya Zvyagina told «7x7» that there was a misunderstanding between the city authorities and law enforcement agencies in Voronezh. She is sure that the administrative case of Boldyrev should "fall apart" in the court of first instance:

"Everyone was very surprised that the Voronezh authorities considered themselves to be a certain specialized zone, to which the restrictions of the championship apply. Orders of the city authorities sounded like a recommendation. Patriotic events were held — no one interfered with them, they tried to limit the theatrical festival with a street procession. It was kind of a bargain: we will allow here, but will prohibit there. A rally in memory of victims of the "Red Terror" was held without problems in the city center. So, there is some kind of selective application of the law. And after all, hyde parks in our city are a working tool. There are groups of activists who almost agreed on the schedule of pickets. That is what they tried to clear up under the pretext of the World Cup. I suspect that if you call a mayor's official who is responsible for coordinating rallies to court, she will change her testimony on May 24 by order of the mayor's office. We have a new chief of police, who is trying to prove himself somehow.

In February 2017, authorities already tried to bring Boldyrev to administrative responsibility after an anonymous complaint that his slogan at the picket did not correspond to the theme of the event.

Daniil Kuznetsov, «7x7»


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