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  2. Journalist Ilya Azar launched a fundraising platform to pay fines for one-person pickets

Journalist Ilya Azar launched a fundraising platform to pay fines for one-person pickets

Denis Strelkov

Journalist and municipal deputy from Moscow Ilya Azar (Lenta.ru, Meduza, Novaya Gazeta) launched a fundraising project to pay fines of people detained during one-person pickets. On July 30, the journalist reported this on his page.

According to Azar, he has launched the Picketman Project in the name of freedom of gathering and holding one-person pickets. The journalist believes that administrative reports for one-person pickets could have been drawn up against hundreds of people in the country over the summer.

- One-person pickets have become even more dangerous for their participants than mass uncoordinated actions (for example, there were no detentions at the rallies against amendments to the Constitution on July 1 and 15). A man with a poster has become the main enemy of the state, he is being detained a second after he has lifted an innocent piece of paper. I myself was detained during a one-person picket twice this year, — the journalist wrote.

Ilya Azar believes that a person who dares to hold a picket in recent months, is a real superhero: "A man with a poster is the Picketman or the Picketwoman who protects our right to freedom of assembly, public expression of opinion, our right to peaceful protest."

The journalist has already run such a project. Last summer, he ran the Podel’nik (‘partner in crime’) Project together with journalist Elizaveta Nesterova in order to raise money for paying fines of the participants of the March for Golunov’s Freedom.

You can donate money here.

In today’s Russia, a one-person picket is the only type of public actions that does not require prior approval from the authorities. After self-isolation regimes were introduced due to the coronavirus pandemic, the authorities of some regions, including Moscow, began detaining participants of one-person pickets allegedly for violating anti-epidemic regulations of Russian Agency for Health and Consumer Rights.

Shortly before the pronouncement of sentence to journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva from Pskov, accused of justifying terrorism, many  journalists of Russian media supported her by holding one-person pickets at Lubyanka Square. All of them, including 7x7’s producer Sofia Krapotkina and deputy editor-in-chief Maxim Polyakov, were detained. Administrative reports were drawn up against them, they are facing fines from 10 to 20 thousand rubles or up to 40 hours of community service.


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