Security forces came with searches to politicians and journalists in seven regions of Russia. The searches are taking place in the case of “fake news” about the Russian army, initiated against former State Duma deputy Ilya Ponomarev.
According to a RIA Novosti source, the security forces are checking "the connections of the administrators of Telegram channels and former deputies with the SBU and other foreign intelligence services." Who was searched?
- Moscow politician Sergei Tsukasov. In the apartment where they came with a search, there is his 88-year-old mother.
- Moscow politician Vladimir Zalishchak. They cut down the door of his apartment.
- At the Moscow politician and associate professor of the Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics of Moscow State University Mikhail Lobanov. Judging by the photographs, physical force was used against him. His colleague Alexander Zamyatin writes that Lobanov does not get in touch.
- At 72.ru journalist Artur Galiev's in Tyumen. He told Sota that his phone and old laptop were confiscated. He claims that he has nothing to do with Ponomarev, about whom the security forces interrogated him.
- At the ex-coordinator of the Navalny Headquarters in Izhevsk, Reseda Abasheva.
- At the editor-in-chief of 86.ru Nikita Kiforuk. He was removed from the train in Tyumen, all his equipment was confiscated from him, and later released. Earlier, a search in the same case took place at his colleague in the publication Yulia Glazova.
The Insider was able to contact Tsukasov. He said that he did not know how he was connected with Ponomarev:
“The police came at 6 am. I was not at home, my mother was. She tried to open the door, but the security forces did not wait and knocked out the larva at the lock in the vestibule of the door. They showed me the search warrant, didn't let him take a picture, asked about Ponomarev and wanted to see me. What relation I have to Ponomarev is not clear. Based on the results of the search, a protocol was drawn up that no objects of interest in the criminal case were found, and nothing was seized. My mother's blood pressure rose, and they called an ambulance, she is an elderly person and was nervous. Everything worked out, more or less.
A week ago, a strange note was sent to me from the Kremlin laundrywoman Telegram channel, according to which Mikhail Lobanov sent me and Vladimir Zalishchak as emissaries to the Congress of People's Deputies. It was held in Poland, Ilya Ponomarev participated in it. I see only such a connection. It is more unclear to me why searches are being carried out at my place, Mikhail and Vladimir.”
Kiforuk says the same. He told The Insider that he was taken off the train as he was approaching Tyumen. The police entered the car and took him to the police station.
They kept me for five hours and said that a decision had come from Moscow that I was allegedly a witness in the Ponomarev case, and I was not even familiar with his activities of Ponomarev. I found out that it existed at all after a wave of searches in the fall. Relatives were still searched, the security forces did not seize anything and behaved civilly.
During the interrogation, they spoke to me normally. For some reason, one of the operatives was shooting outside the protocol, allegedly he was instructed from Moscow. He asked how I feel about Putin's policy, whose Crimea and so on. They asked: “What about the operation?”. replied, "Well, she's coming." They asked about Ponomarev, did I watch his videos, did I receive money from abroad. But I asked them more, because it is not clear to me what relation I have to Ponomarev, and what caused the detention and seizure of equipment.
They were looking for equipment, the decision was specifically for the seizure of equipment. Of course, they didn't return it. They asked to unblock it and said they would send it to Moscow. I said it was illegal and didn't unlock it. He said that I did not want to, and that I had the right not to show them passwords, that this was guaranteed by the Constitution. I don't know how to work now. They didn’t say anything, they’ll just figure it out in Moscow, and if everything is in order, they will return it, but when it’s not known. There is a working laptop, a working editorial and my personal phones.
Ponomarev is a former State Duma deputy from A Just Russia. He was the only one who voted against the annexation of Crimea and left Russia after that. In 2019, he received the citizenship of Ukraine. In August 2022, he was arrested in absentia for “fakes” about the army.