YABLOKO leader addresses the FSB security service Chief: Stop putting pressure on the organisers of the rally in memory of Boris Nemtsov in Stavropol
Press release, 20.02.2017
YABLOKO Chair Emilia Slabunova forwarded a request to the FSB security service Chief Alexander Bortnikov demanding to bring the department officers to responsibility for putting pressure on the party activists in Stavropol, south Russia. The FSB officers insist that YABLOKO activists must give up the idea of holding a rally in memory of Boris Nemtsov which was already authorized by the city hall.
YABLOKO claims that such actions are unlawful and unacceptable, they put obstacles in the way of freedom of expression of people and violate one of the basic constitutional rights of the citizens – the right to freedom of assembly, runs Emilia Slabunova’s request.
On February 14, the activists of the Stavropol branch of YABLOKO Anastasia Antonets, Kirill Bobro, and Artyom Sagaidov sent a notification of their intention to hold a rally in memory of Boris Nemtsov on February 26. On February 16, they received an affirmative reply.
On February 17, the FSB officers came to the flat of Anastasia Antonets’ parents under the pretext of checking their gun license. They asked the parents to warn their daughter against the possible negative consequences of the rally (“what if someone is going to drink alcohol in a public place or suddenly break a couple of benches” an so on). They also demanded that on February 20 Anastasia Antonets must write an application on the rejection to hold the rally and stop further political activity.
Such actions of the law enforcement create the atmosphere of fear in the country and annihilate opportunities for a normal public activity and a political dialogue. The authorities do not hear people whose political views differ from theirs. The attempts to put pressure on the opposition only leads to further growth of resistance within the society, Emilia Slabunova says.
This is not the first time when political activists are persecuted in Stavropol. Two years ago the agents of the Centre for Combating Extremism threatened YABLOKO activist Kirill Bobro because he had conducted a picket against the government.
Yabloko Youth also released a statement claiming that the persecution of political activists in Stavropol is anti-constitutional.