A press conference entitled “Pogrom in Khimki: The Police Fabricates the Ringleaders,” which took place today at the Independent Press Center in Moscow, ended in scandal. After the press conference ended, Yevgenia Chirikova, leader of the Movement to Defend to the Khimki Forest, was detained. The press conference was called to discuss the case of the so-called pogrom of the Khimki administration building and the Khimki police’s abuse of forest defenders. All the speakers scheduled for the event were in attendance: Carine Clément, director of the Institute for Collective Action (IKD); lawyer Mikhail Trepashkin; Irina Gaskarova, mother of one of the detainees; and Yevgenia Chirikov, who was detained after the press conference.
The speakers spoke in detail about the circumstances surround the numerous arrests of Khimki Forest defenders, in particular, the case of the two young men [Alexei Gaskarov and Maxim Solopov], who police stubbornly insist were the instigators of the so-called pogrom of the Khimki administration. A large number of journalists was present: the auditorium of the Independent Press Center was practically full.
As IKD deputy Andrei Demidov reports, there were a huge number of police officers and plain-clothes detectives present outside the press center and in the courtyard. A journalist at the press conference asked Yevgenia Chirikova to explain why there were so many police present. “Apparently so that we don’t relax,” replied Chirikova, adding, “Let’s see if we can still get out of here.”
As she exited the press center, several policemen seized Chirikova and rudely packed her into a car. Meanwhile, police blockaded other press conference attendees in the courtyard. Two police majors who were coordinating the actions of the “law enforcers” refused to identify themselves. [This in itself is a violation of Russian law.] Yevgenia Chirikova was placed in a Lada automobile with Moscow Region license plate number M 356. According to unconfirmed reports, she is being taken to the Khamovniki Police Precinct.
The Institute for Collective Action will continue to follow this story.
Editor’s Note. According to one of our correspondents, Chirikova has been taken to the Chief Directorate of Internal Affairs for the Moscow Region (Nikitsky pereulok, 3), where she is being interrogated about the attack on the Khimki administration. The phone numbers there (for anyone who would like to call and inquire about her well-being) are +7 (495) 222-48-01 and +7 (495) 222-40-03. Of course you’ll be unlikely to get someone on the other end of the line who speaks English, but pronouncing the magic words “Yevgenia Chirikova” will let the Russian police know that the world is watching as they trample all recognized norms of civil and human rights into the dust.