Published: 17 December, 2010, 05:38
Edited: 17 December, 2010, 08:49
Sergey Mashkin, Aleksandr Zheglov
Intradepartmental disputes have become an obstacle in the fight against extremism in Moscow. Yesterday, the city’s prosecution came to the conclusion that the recent events on Manege Square need to be classified as mass violence with the goal of inciting national hatred and enmity and not as individual episodes of beatings committed by football fans and resistance against the police. Representatives of the Investigation Committee under the Prosecutor General’s Office (SKP) believe that there is still not enough evidence and aggravating circumstances to do so. Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies are forced not only to deal with each other, but also with the participants of new violent clashes. Among those, who were arrested this Wednesday were two members of the Russia’s junior national freestyle wrestling team.
Investigators’ classification is challenged
Marina Gridneva, official spokesperson for the Prosecutor General’s Office, reported yesterday that the Office has taken over the investigation of 22 criminal cases, filed by the SKP and the Interior Ministry against the most active participants in the mass violence which took place on December 11 on Manege Square. The cases were filed for violation of public order, beatings, and resisting arrest. In the review, conducted by Moscow’s prosecution, harsher elements of offense were discovered in the actions of the participants of the unauthorized protest – namely, those provisioned under Art. 212 (mass violence) and Art. 282 (incitement of hatred or enmity, and abasement of human dignity) of the Criminal Code of the RF. According to the Prosecutor General’s Office, the applicable documents have already been sent to the SKP’s Directorate in Moscow “in order to settle the question of filing the criminal cases”.
SKP representatives told Kommersant that in order to file a criminal case under Art. 212, in accordance with the Criminal Code, there need to be the following categories: rape, violence, arson, destruction of property, use of firearms, explosive substances or explosive assembly, as well as armed resistance to a public officer. So far, there has been no luck in unequivocally establishing that all these events took place on Manege Square, say investigators. Further, according to the staff members of the SKP, their public announcement about mass violence will hardly do much to stabilize the difficult situation in Moscow. In the end, the SKP decided not to rush to file cases under the serious articles, and instead ordered operatives to first question witnesses and the detainees in order to determine the motives of the football fans and search for the alleged organizers of the protest.
“We are not ruling out the possibility of filing new criminal cases under more serious articles of the Criminal Code,” noted the SKP representatives, “but we will only do this as soon as we collect all the necessary evidence and determine the nature of the crime.”
While the SKP and the Prosecutor General’s Office were working on categorizing the crime, operatives were able to identify one of the alleged organizers of the protest on Manege Square. He is 19-year-old Ilya Kubrakov, a student who is known in nationalist circles by the nickname Hector. On December 11, after the violent outbreaks on Manege Square, Hector and two of his juvenile accomplices, Scout and Grizzly, beat and stabbed street sweeper Alisher Shamshiev, originally from Kyrgyzstan, on Sudostroitelnaya Street. The attackers were detained soon after, after which Hector was recognized from the photographs taken on Manege Square as a person who directed the crowd with the help of a megaphone. According to Kommersant’s sources, he is the person Russia’s Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliev had in mind when reporting yesterday on the arrest of the organizers of the unapproved protest.
Kommersant learned from SKP representatives yesterday that the decision to file criminal cases under Articles 212 and 282 has not been made. Meanwhile, in the Prosecutor General’s Office it is believed that incorrect classification of the events in the city had actually provoked the unrest. Note that, as was established by the Moscow prosecution’s review, a Golovinsky District’s SKP investigator (he is currently under investigation) had initially incorrectly classified the actions of the Caucasians who were apprehended on December 6 for attacking Spartak fans on the Kronshtad Blvd. As a result, only one of them was detained – for the murder of Egor Sviridov (according to the SKP’s version of events, the investigator did not arrest the remaining participants in the attack, because their crime – taking part in a fight – fell into the domain of the police). Be that as it may, freeing the attackers served as a reason for the first protest of the football fans, who blocked the Leningrad Avenue near the SKP’s Golovinsky District Department. Despite the fact that most participants in the attack were later arrested (another two are wanted), the fans organized another, even bigger, protest, which was held at the walls of the Kremlin.
Two dozen criminal and administrative cases have been filed in connection with the events on Manege Square, but they applied to the actions of individual participants of the protest, which was not classified as a single event. Considering that the majority of cases were filed as non-heinous crimes (fighting, infliction of light bodily harm, etc.), most of the detainees were freed and could very well have participated in the new clashes on Wednesday.
And now – the country’s national team!
Kommersant learned, however, that most of the people who were arrested this Wednesday were North Caucasus natives, who were gathering near the European (Evropeisky) Mall and other areas around Moscow, according to the Main Internal Affairs Directorate, “in order to show armed resistance to the Slavic extremist youth”. According to police estimates, about 4,000 people, including 200 journalists, gathered that day near the European Mall. 536 people, who tried to provoke inter-ethnic clashes, were apprehended and brought to the police departments. In total, 1,348 were arrested that day in the capital. 16 traumatic pistols, 208 pocket knives, and 260 of “other items” – including metal fittings, hammers, electric shockers, brass knuckles, and baseball bats – were confiscated.
The number of criminal and administrative cases filed against the participants remains unknown. Moscow City Court’s official spokesperson, Anna Usacheva, told Kommersant that, so far, magistrate court No. 207 of the Dorogomilovo District has received materials on law violations under Art. 20.18 (blocking public transport) of the Code of Administrative Offenses for 15 individuals. According to Kommersant’s sources, the young Slavs were detained for an unauthorized march on the Dorogomilovskaya Street. However, they were not sent to the nearest Dorogomilovsky Department of Internal Affairs, which was already full with the participants of the “European” events, but to the Teply Stan Police Department, in a different precinct. There, after the protocols were drafted, they were sent to the magistrate’s court; meanwhile, there was confusion with the territorial jurisdiction of the departments – the protocols will be sent to Department No. 206 today.
However, it was not without some serious incidents. The participants of one of them were students of the State University of Physical Education, Sport and Tourism: Askhab Abdulkarimov, Muslim Gabibov, and Artur Akhmedov. Note that the two last names – are well-known athletes, members of Russia’s junior freestyle wrestling team, and prize winners in prestigious international championships, and European and World Championships. On October 30 of this year, in Turin, Italy, Muslim Gabibov became the World Champion among students, and his friend and fellow countryman, Artur Akhmedov (both live in the Tagirkent Village of the Magaramkentsky District in Dagestan) took the third place at the same championships.
One of the investigators told Kommersant that the OMON operatives had apprehended the Dagestani fighters near Park Kultury Metro station while they were beating 25-year-old Moscow resident Dmitry Zimin, an engineer with Paritet, LLC. One of the attackers, Artur Akhmedov, had “deliberately” fired a shot into the victim’s head from a traumatic pistol. The engineer sustained various bodily injuries, and survived only because the rubber bullet, striking his head at an oblique angle, did not penetrate the skull.
“They (the detainees – Kommersant) are in good standing with the university and have numerous times represented Russia at international sporting championships as members of the country’s national team. We are simply shocked at what happened,” the university’s official spokesperson, Anastasia Streltsova, told Kommersant. The students could face time in jail for attempted murder and hooliganism (Art. 30, 105, and 213 of the Criminal Code). “What’s the difference if they are ‘members of the national team’ or ordinary people, the law is the same for all. The court will deal with everyone,” Mikhail Mamiashvili, president of the Wrestling Federation of Russia, told Kommersant.
Meanwhile, near Yugo-Zapadnaya Metro station, the police were forced to use weapons. After asking for identification from a group of Caucasians, three police officers were beaten. In order to repel the attackers, the police officers fired shots into the air. Their colleagues, who quickly arrived at the crime scene, helped the victims arrest 12 attackers, among whom were natives of Dagestan, Chechnya, Kabardino-Balkaria, and Georgia. The SKP had opened a criminal case against them under Art. 318 (violence against a pubic officer) of the Criminal Code of Russia.
Today, Moscow police are preparing for new disturbances. Law enforcement agencies received an operative report that Muslims may be attacked near mosques during the Ashura holiday.
General of the Interior Ministry, charged with disorderly conduct, will stand trial