Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Kremlin Versus Oborona: A Postcard from the Battlefront

The Court of Dyatlov vs. Charles Darwin


On August 14 in the 370th precinct of the Tverskiy Region in Moscow, a trial will be held to consider the case of Vladimir Akimenkov, an activist in the groups Oborona and OGF. The court will convene at 10:00 at Bolshoi Cherkasskiy Lane, bldg 7/8, room 1B. Akimenkov is accused of insubordination to police who were dispersing a protest sanctioned by the authorities on June 22.

The June 22 picket near the Presidential Administration was, as noted, sanctioned by the authorities, though this did not prevent the militia from dispersing it and detaining several participants. Among those detained was one member of Oborona, Vladimir Akimenkov, who had to spend 17 hours at the police station.

In July the activist was fined by a judge in the Dyatlov regional court for “disturbing the peace by participating in a public demonstration”, inasmuch as the sign Akimenkov was holding, in the opinion of the court, “did not correspond to the purpose of the picket, was aimed at undermining the authority of the Head of State, and was anti-government in its character.” On the sign was written the words, “Time for the Dinosaurs to go Extinct”. This is the first decision by a Russian court that not only officially acknowledges the President of Russia is a prehistoric fossil, but also calls Darwin’s theory of evolution “anti-government”.

This turned out not to be enough for the court, however, and a month later the Dyatlov court decided to punish once again this defender of Darwinism - this time for “disobeying the police” during the dispersal of the same picket. According to article 19.3 of the criminal code, Vladimir Akimenkov could face 15 days imprisonment.


[TN: The animated double-picture that accompanies this article (shown above) has Gandhi saying, “Putin, are you a dinosaur?” And Putin answering, “No, Ia Krevedko!” (Йа Креведко) – which I think means essentially, “No, I’m a monster.” Doing some quick online research, I gathered that Krevedko is the name of a “Ktulkhu” (Ктулху) - type monster, which is a person with a squid-type mouth... But I could be wrong. Reader comments are most welcome on this issue. A second post updated the above, it is translated below).

The Court is Frightened by Oborona Activists


At approximately 9:00 a.m., about one hour before the court convened in the case of Oborona activist Vladimir Akimenkov, activists from Oborona and other organizations began to gather around the court, along with some journalists. All approaches to the court were blocked by police cordons, and as the number of those gathering grew so did the number of police. The Oborona activists had planned simply to attend the trial and watch the somewhat remarkable spectacle of the Dyatlov court, which had declared war on the theory of evolution. They did not plan to raid the court, of course, nor do anything else untoward.

But the Dyatlov court lost its nerve, and at 9:40 a.m. announced that the trial had been canceled. The reason given was the non-appearance of one of the police officer witnesses against the accused. Having allowed into the building only Akimenkov himself and one of the journalists, the court announced that the case would be heard on 22 August, again at 10:00 a.m. The court also noted that photography would not be permitted in the court and only five people would be allowed inside.

On 22 August the statue of limitations will expire in the case of Akimenkov.

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