Russian State Duma deputy initiated arrest of environmental activists

Publish date: December 16, 2003

On November 28th, the Russian State Duma deputy Georgy Leontyev organised detention of the environmental activists when they conducted antinuclear action aimed at providing truthful information to the electors in a small town of Kamensk-Uralsk in Sverdlovsk region in the Urals.

The activists intended to inform the citizens about the deputies who had voted in favour of spent nuclear fuel import to Russia. The activists intended to inform the citizens about the deputies who had voted in favour of spent nuclear fuel import to Russia. The members of the local environmental organisation Centre for Nature Protection were distributing the flyers at the entrance to the local theatre. Neither the local administration, nor the police paid attention to the action.

At the same time Georgy Leontyev, a Russian State Duma deputy, decided to speak to the voters right before the performance at the theatre. Nobody was informed about his plan to appear in front of the theatre audience; otherwise less people would come to the performance. When Leontyev and his assistants arrived, the activists were distributing the flyers with the information about the local parliamentarians’ votes regarding the law about spent nuclear fuel import. Leontyev’s assistants and the policeman told the activists to abandon the place and give the flyers to them. They also accompanied their actions with swearing. The activists refused, but the assistants took the flyers by force (500 copies) and went away.

However, the activists had some extra flyers and continued the action. In 15 minutes the police crew arrived at the spot, after having referred to the on-going antiterrorist operation they inspected the activists’ car, took the driver’s documents, confiscated the rest of the flyer’s (15,000 copies) and took all the activists to the police station, where they spent 3 hours. According to Sergey Barsukov, the leader of the environmental organisation, State Duma deputy Leontyev, who did not want the local population to know the truth about his anti-environmental activities, initiated the whole operation. On December 1, the activists were charged with “production and distribution of anonymous agitational materials during election campaign” according to Article 5.12 of the Russian Code of Administrative Violations. The maximum stipulated punishment for this offence is $300 fine.

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