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Oleg Shein

Beatings in Moscow. Clarification

As well-known, on May 28, 2002 Moscow Special Police attacked the demonstration in the downtown Moscow.

It is necessary to reconstruct the events leading to that attack.

On May 13, a group of citizens applied to the city office for the permit to have a meeting in Pushpin Square.  The meeting was to protest the new Labor Code, the housing and education reforms, and some other matters. (contrary to press reports, neither trade union "Defense" nor the Russian Party of Labor or any other organization officially participated in the meeting)

On May 22, the Prefect of the Central District of Moscow gave the permit for the meeting.   But five days later, on the eve of this event, the permit was withdrawn.  The reason given was that the meeting would... obstruct the work of the enterprises and offices located nearby.  Those familiar with that part of Moscow know that Pushkin's monument is located in the park, 150-200 meters from the nearest cafe.  Moreover, this ban contradicted the President's decree, according to which local administration is supposed to make permit decisions no later than five days before the planned event.

On May 28 the participants and press representatives, including some leading Moscow newspapers, began gathering around the monument.  The meeting was scheduled to begin at 16.00.  But already at 15:30 the special police forces (OMON) attacked the waiting people, who did not do anything accept having raised several posters, which cannot be even qualified as a meeting.  The police used batons and made a show of the Rottweilers police dogs.  

Altogether, 26 participants were arrested, including the activists of the trade union "Defense" Victor Petrov and Sergei Sychov.  The arrested were mostly workers, white-collar workers, and students, and included an elderly female worker from Yaroslavl and journalists.  Police did not stop beating the arrested inside the police bus.  Five persons received heavy injuries, concussions and fractures.  

As reports one of the arrested, Ilya Budrajtskis, the police "just beat everybody, including girls.  Among heavily injured are Evgenii Schetov (the police broke his nose by smashing his head into the bus) and Dmitry Kazennov from Moscow, Dmitry Borzenkov from Yaroslavl, Vladislav Ninaltovsky from Volgograd (Stalingrad), and Andrei Bobrov from Ekaterinburg (Sverdlovsk).  Ominously, one of the cops was wearing the SS insignia next to his badge". 

The beatings stopped and the arrested were released by midnight only thanks to the fact the public accidentally had learned about the whereabouts of the arrested (the police precinct "Khamovniki") where by night there gathered up to 50 protesters and several TV crews.

Presently the Moscow police department is in no position to defend its actions in court.  Therefore, the case has been postponed indefinitely.  The Procecutor's Office of the Central District are considering charging the policemen and the senior officers of the Moscow police department for illegal actions and brutality.

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