By Sergey Chernov
St. Petersburg Times
June 16, 2009
The apartment of a political and human rights activist was searched by the police on farfetched grounds last week, the activist said at a press conference held on Thursday at the office of Soldiers’ Mothers, a group that defends the rights of Russian soldiers and their families.
Ivantsov, an activist with the Oborona Youth Democratic Movement and the Youth Human Rights Group, said that on June 8 he was visited by three police officers, two of whom were from the “E” (anti-extremism) Center, who searched his apartment and confiscated his computer, a large number of discs and several old notebooks.
“They even took blank discs — everything en masse,” Ivantsov said by phone on Monday.
“They found a disc of Pavel Bardin’s ‘Russia 88’ [a feature film about a Nazi skinhead group] and said it should be examined to determine whether it is extremist.
“They were happy when they found an unlicensed copy of Windows on a CDR, and told me I would be persecuted for having this, even though only the distribution of unlicensed products is punishable under the law they referred to; there is no responsibility involved in the possession of such products. None of the discs had anything to do with the grounds on which the search was made.”
According to the search warrant, Ivantsov was suspected of “keeping objects prohibited for civil circulation” (a term usually referring to weapons or drugs), he said. The warrant also alleged there were grounds to believe that he knew the “whereabouts of a person wanted for an insult to the state flag.”
Ivantsov, who has taken part in many events protesting against police lawlessness and authored multiple complaints about rights violated by the police, said the police had used the cases as a pretext to harass an opposition activist and search his home.