Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Russian Anti-Fascists Imprisoned. Defend our Comrades!

with 19 comments

You can support the “network” case defendants by sending them solidarity messages, donating to the support campaign, and spreading the word about the case.

See the Rupression site for details

Russia jails members of ‘non-existent’ terror group Set


Seven Russian anarchists and anti-fascist activists have been handed lengthy jail terms on terror charges.

A court in the city of Penza sentenced the men – said to be part of a group known as Set, meaning Network – to between six and 18 years in penal colonies.

Russian authorities say they were plotting to overthrow the government.

But rights groups and lawyers say the charges were fabricated, and the men were tortured into confessing.

Prominent opposition figure Alexei Navalny described the sentences as “horrific” in a tweet, and called the Set group a “fictitious terrorist organisation”.

A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly said he was aware of the case and had ordered authorities “to make sure everything is in line with the law”, but would not intervene.

The Guardian says,

Rights activists criticise trial, saying members of the Network were tortured.

A Russian court has issued harsh sentences to seven antifascist and anarchist activists in a controversial domestic terrorism case marred by claims that investigators tortured the defendants to elicit confessions.

The court in Penza, a city about 390 miles (630km) south-east of Moscow, sentenced the men to terms of six to 18 years in penal colonies for allegedly forming an organisation called Set, which translates as the Network, which prosecutors said planned to carry out future attacks inside Russia to overthrow the government. The men were also charged with an assortment of weapons and drugs charges.

Influential human rights groups have called the case fabricated and said the men may have been targeted for their political activism. Four of the men on trial said they had been tortured with beatings and electrocution during the investigation. In December, Memorial human rights centre, one of Russia’s oldest civil rights organisations, had called for the charges to be dropped.

The French Communist daily l’Humanité, runs the story,


The left blog People and Nature reports,

Russia: “network” case anti-fascists jailed for 6 to 18 years

A military court yesterday convicted seven Russian anti-fascists of trumped-up charges in the “network” case, and sentenced them to between six and 18 years imprisonment. The trial of two more defendants continues in St Petersburg.

The frame-up of the “network” case defendants by security services (FSB) officers – and the repeated use of torture to obtain bogus confessions – has been denounced by human rights organisations. The jailed anti-fascists have been supported by an international solidarity campaign.

Here is a report from court yesterday, translated by the Russian Reader from Bumaga newspaper:

The Volga District Military Court, [sitting in Penza], has [convicted and] sentenced seven defendants in the Network Case.

Dmitry Pchelintsev was sentenced to 18 years in a maximum-security penal colony. Ilya Shakursky was sentenced to 16 years in a penal colony and fined 50,000 rubles.

Investigators claimed they were organizers of a “terrorist community.” Both men alleged that FSB officers had electrocuted them in order to obtain confessions.

Maxim Ivankin was given 13 years in a maximum-security penal colony, while Andrei Chernov was sentenced to 14 years, and Mikhail Kulkov, to 10 years. They were found guilty of involvement in a “terrorist community” and attempting to sell drugs.

Vasily Kuksov was sentenced to 9 years in a penal colony. He was accused of involvement in a “terrorist community” and illegal possession of a weapon. Another defendant, Arman Sagynbayev, received 6 years in prison.

The verdict handed down by the court in Penza suggests that the acquittal of the Petersburg defendants in the case is less likely, Viktor Cherkasov, the lawyer for Viktor Filinkov, a defendant in the Network Case, told Bumaga. “It sends a message,” said Cherkasov. “It is difficult to hope [for a positive outcome], but we are still determined to protect Filinkov’s interests.”

Cherkasov said that he planned in court to point to the faked evidence in the case. He also that he would take the case to the European Court of Human Rights if Filinkov were found guilty. The next hearing in the Network Case in Petersburg should take place between February 25 and February 28.

[In October 2017 and January 2018], antifascists and anarchists were detained in Penza and Petersburg. They were accused of organizing a “terrorist community,” allegedly called “the network”.


At the end of the court hearing, Mediazona, the human rights defenders’ web site, reported:

The session is over. The sentence was read out in complete silence. Now, behind the court’s closed doors it is very noisy. Those who came to support the defendants are shouting: “Free political prisoners!”

“Stay strong, we are with you”, one of the support group shouted out.

“No, it’s we who are with you!” answered Dmitry Pchelintsev, one of the defendants. […]

People shouted “shame!” and “freedom!” […]

Outside court, a crowd gathered. Some people played drums, others sang, waiting for those convicted to be taken away in prison vans. Alongside stood security services officers in masks.

Vehicles left [the court] in a convoy. According to Mediazona’s correspondent, OMON [riot police] officers threw their coats over the convicts, so as to pass the crowds unseen. The supporters then began to go their separate ways.


More information:


In autumn 2017 6 people were arrested in Penza – to some of them weapons and explosives were thrown up. Then FSB tortured antifascists right in the pretrial detention center: connected electrodes to different parts of body and put the electricity on, beaten, hanged upside down. While torturing security chiefs forced activists to learn by heart the testimony which FSB wants, that they had founded and participate terrorist community “Network”. At the end of January 2018, three more antifascists were arrested in St. Petersburg. They were also beaten, electrocuted and forced to incriminate themselves – to confirm that they are members of the “Network”. And in July 2018 there was a last arrest of two persons in Moscow.

By forging the evidence and tortures, the FSB fabricates a case about terrorism against antifascists. The FSB claims that the detainees planned to arrange explosions during the presidential elections and the World Cup. All this – allegedly in order to “shake the masses to further destabilize the political situation in the country” and raise an armed rebellion. Now there are ten antifascists behind the bars. Arrested face from five years up to life sentence in prison.

After the case against antifascists and tortures became widely known- actions of solidarity took place in Russia and abroad. However, this led to new repressions. The participants of the actions from Moscow were detained and criminal proceedings were opened against them. Antifascists from Chelyabinsk were detained, electrocuted and a criminal case was also opened against them.




Written by Andrew Coates

February 11, 2020 at 12:59 pm

19 Responses

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  1. A terrible situation. And we’re still waiting for the Report into how Russian interference might have helped facilitate the election of our own Uber Fascist, Boris Johnson.


    February 11, 2020 at 1:09 pm

  2. When the BBC, the Guardian, and L’Humanité agree on the facts then you have something really really serious.

    Andrew Coates

    February 11, 2020 at 1:12 pm

    • I’d like to hear what Boris’s comments are going to be on this, and come to that, what Trump has got to say about it.


      February 11, 2020 at 1:17 pm

  3. Well, Putin would never back a loser. No matter how useful the idiot sounded.


    Steven Johnston

    February 11, 2020 at 1:24 pm

    • Steven, at that point when Corbyn quite reasonably appealed for calm it had not been established who was responsible.


      February 11, 2020 at 1:53 pm

  4. Even appointing this man:


    Can’t endear him to Putin. What a loser Corbyn was.

    Steven Johnston

    February 11, 2020 at 3:28 pm

    • “What a loser Corbyn was”

      Yet no criticism of the Tories hey Steven? Nothing derogatory to say about Boris Johnson. You’re showing your true colours today.


      February 11, 2020 at 3:35 pm

  5. I criticise any parties that work within the capitalist system. All of them are best to avoided.

    Steven Johnston

    February 11, 2020 at 3:58 pm

  6. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/14/jeremy-corbyn-under-fire-over-response-to-pms-russia-statement

    So Trev, we now know it was the Russians, but if there was a time when we could not be sure of that. Who the hell else did you think did it? The Americans, laving a “false flag”?

    Steven Johnston

    February 11, 2020 at 4:22 pm

    • I had no idea at the time, could have been anyone, terrorists or whatever. Corbyn was just calling for calm in the immediate aftermath until the full facts had been established.


      February 11, 2020 at 4:28 pm

  7. Yet at that time all the evidence pointed to Russia. No one else was in the frame. It was shameful of him to suggest it wasn’t and just one of the reasons he cost Labour the election. The man was a disgrace.

    Steven Johnston

    February 11, 2020 at 5:13 pm

    • As it turned out the Russians, or some autonomous faction of the Russian Intelligence were responsible, but we had not been shown any evidence of this at that point in time, hence Corbyn’s call for caution. The British Government would have looked pretty stupid if it had turned out not to have been the Russians, wouldn’t they?
      Do you have anything better to say or do with your time other than pour scorn and criticism on every aspect of the Left? Any criticism of the Tories at all?


      February 11, 2020 at 5:36 pm

  8. Mile and Corbyn’s views are pretty irrelevant, we want these comrades freed first of all.

    That is the aim.

    Though it would be interesting if Corbyn or his allies in the Morning Star react to this story.

    Andrew Coates

    February 11, 2020 at 5:45 pm

  9. Yes Andrew. Let us know what the Morning Star has to say on this, as well as Spiked and the other lunatics.

    Dave Roberts

    February 11, 2020 at 7:20 pm

  10. Just as well Corbyn didn’t get in or else he’d do nothing to help free your comrades.

    Steven johnston

    February 12, 2020 at 9:58 am

    • “Just as well Corbyn didn’t get in or else he’d do nothing to help free your comrades.”

      Irrelevant as ever Steven. The question should be; what is Boris Johnson going to do to help free them? He’s the Prime Minister, not Jeremy Corbyn. As usual your criticism is aimed in entirely the wrong direction.


      February 12, 2020 at 12:17 pm

  11. Perhaps those people who heap scorn on me, on this site, yet claim they have no money to give to that working class hero, Lansman’s cult of personality. I mean vanity project, I mean party within a party that keeps Labour ideologically pure. Should consider using that time more constructively? Like working and earning so they can then give this money to Momentum.
    Just a thought.

    Steven Johnston

    February 12, 2020 at 12:10 pm

  12. Oh Boris Jonson, he will do nothing either. A plague on both their houses.

    Steven Johnston

    February 12, 2020 at 12:36 pm

  13. Paul Canning (@pauloCanning)

    February 13, 2020 at 8:22 pm

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