Freedom News

Russia: Teenager gets five years for flyers and Minecraft chat

On February 10th a military court sentenced three 16-year-old activists from Kansk in the Krasnoyarsk Krai, southern Russia. Nikita Uvarov, who was named as leader of the group during the investigation, was sentenced to five years in prison and fined 30,000 rubles (about £287). Two other defendants (Denis Mikhailenko and Bohdan Andreyev) were acquitted because, according to lawyers, they cooperated with investigators. The allegations were based on sections on terrorism (production of explosives and training in terrorist acts).

The boys were arrested in the summer of 2020, when they were 14 years old, after leaflets criticising the government and in support of political prisoners appeared in Kanska, including on Federal Security Service (FSB) building. The leaflets named anarchists and anti-fascists convicted in the Network and Azata Miftachov cases. 

The police used conversation by the boys on social networks as evidence towards their allegations of “terrorism training”, where they discussed anarchism or the “firing” of the FSB building while playing Minecraft together. In addition, FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov declared in June 2021 that terrorists were recruiting young people in networked game hubs and creating “gamefied situations of terrorist attacks.”

Nikita Uvarov denied the accusations, while the other two at first confessed and testified against Uvarov, but later withdrew their statements. Uvarov spent 11 months in custody and completed his school year after his release in May 2021. Mikhailovko was in custody for about ten months while Andreyev was placed under house arrest. From August 2021, both were banned from specific related activities. Andreyev was allowed to use the internet and go to school while Mikhailovko continued to be banned from going online.

In his closing remarks in court, Nikita Uvarov said that if he was sentenced to imprisonment, he would serve his sentence “with a clear conscience and with dignity.” 

“I will be calm because I never taught my friends anything bad, I was not their leader, we were equal and we just became friends. I did not testify against anyone … I did not plan to assassinate anyone, I am not a terrorist … I would like to finish school and go somewhere far away, “he said.

Nikita Uvarov can be supported as follows:

  • Bitcoin: bc1qdpffwd9rwghfsr497fm0mf60jyf5exvsm27q7a
  • Ethereum: 0x56CD03309E0607105F15bA3cd9896B010e0c1689
  • Money can also be sent via ABC-Moscow, stating the name of the convict, or the entire case – “Kansk case”.
  • Paypal:  [email protected]
  • YooMoney: 410011258065987

This article is an edited translation of a piece at afed.cz