Freedom News

Russia: “The Network” trial begins

Amid presence the courtroom of riot police, regular police, court bailiffs and supporters, the trial in the case of the Network begun in St. Petersburg on Tuesday, with a 24-year old programmer Viktor Filinkov and a 27-year- old Yuli Bayarshinov charged with involvement in the “anarchist terrorist community”.

Filinkov and Bayarshinov are on trial by the military court: the same one which in January sentenced Igor Shishkin to 3.5 years in prison following a deal with prosecution.

The defendants were applauded by their supporters as armed guards led them into the courtroom and inside the metal cage where they remained during the trial, despite Filinkov’s lawyer demanding that he sits besides him rather than in the cage since he had no previous criminal record.

According to the prosecution, the “anarchist terrorist community” was set up in May 2015. After the group formation, the defendants allegedly “assigned roles among themselves and explored ways of committing crimes” in order to overthrow the Russian regime by “establishing combat groups and recruiting individuals who shared their anarchist ideology.” The defendants deny the charges.

Filinkov has been accused of volunteering to be the terror group’s “radioman,” while Boyarshinov was, allegedly, their “sapper.” Additionally, Filinkov supposedly “supplied members with communications devices,” taught them encryption, “recruited other individuals, discussed and planned crimes during meetings, attended classes on tactics, reconnaissance, sabotage, and combat, and the use of weapons and explosive devices, and acquired the knowledge necessary in extreme circumstances and combat conditions.”

Filinkov said in court that he doesn’t understand the charges, while Boyarshinkov, after hearing similar accusations, admitted his guilt and said he is willing to testify.

Both defendants said that they were learning the alleged skills as a form of self-defence in light of the numbers of antifascists murdered across Russia in the recent years. Filinkov mentioned the murders of Timur Kucharava, a Russian rock musician and anti-fascist stabbed to death by members of far-right group in 2005, and Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova, who were murdered in 2009.

Filinkov, together with three other young men involved in The Network case, complained that they had been tortured with electric shocks, while Boyarshinov stated that the conditions in pre-trial detention were tantamount to torture. Both Filinkov and Boyarshinov have filed complaints with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

What can you do to support the Penza and Petersburg antifascists and anarchists who have been tortured and imprisoned by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB)?

  • Donate money to the Anarchist Black Cross via PayPal (). Make sure to specify your donation is earmarked for “Rupression.”
  • Spread the word about the Network Case aka the Penza-Petersburg “terrorism” case. You can find more information about the case and in-depth articles translated into English on this website (see below), 
  • Organize solidarity events where you live to raise money and publicize the plight of the tortured Penza and Petersburg antifascists. Go to the website  to find printable posters and flyers you can download. You can also read more about the case there.
  • If you have the time and means to design, produce, and sell solidarity merchandise, please write to .
  • Write letters and postcards to the prisoners. Letters and postcards must be written in Russian or translated into Russian. You can find the addresses of the prisoners ” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>here.
  • Design a solidarity postcard that can be printed and used by others to send messages of support to the prisoners. Send your ideas to .
  • Write letters of support to the prisoners’ loved ones via .
  • Translate the articles and information at and this website into languages other than Russian and English, and publish your translations on social media and your own websites and blogs.

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