Russia: Anarchist Prisoner Dmitry Buchenkov Flees the Country

It was confirmed that at the beginning of November, Russian anarchist prisoner Dmitry Buchenkov has fled the country. Buchenkov stands accused of participating in mass riots and assaulting police officers at a protest on the eve of President Vladimir Putin’s inauguration in May 2012. The rally was one of a series of large opposition protests sparked mainly by anger over evidence of widespread electoral fraud and dismay at Putin’s decision to return to the presidency after a four-year stint as prime minister. Up to date, more than 30 people were prosecuted in connection with the clashes and more than 20 were sentenced to prison or served time in pretrial custody; with one of the protestors committed to a psychiatric hospital.

Buchenkov insists that he didn’t take part in the protests, and that he wasn’t even in Moscow on the day at all, as he was visiting his parents in Nizhny Novgorod: a town about 500 kilometers away from Russia’s capital.  This claim is supported by his relatives’ statements, data from State Traffic Safety Inspectorate, and CCTV footage analysis. However, the prosecution decided to ignore this evidence.

While in custody, Dmitry Buchenkov was subjected to a special regime, which meant camera in his cell, ban on family visits, and no communication with fellow prisoners. During his prison time, he was allowed to make no more than two phone calls. In March 2017, after almost one and a half year in  pretrial detention, Dmitry Buchenkov  was transferred to house arrest in his flat in Moscow, from which he managed to escape. Currently, he is in a EU country he declines to name, and has applied for asylum. After his escape, the Zamoskvoretsky District Court of Moscow changed the home detention back to arrest, and placed him on the wanted list.

In the interview about his prison experience, ha said: I’ve grown even firmer in my conviction that the state machine is a system of organisation that benefits only a small group of people. That this system occasionally does something useful (in addition to causing obvious harm to society) by no means serves to justify it. 

Photo: activists in Nizhny Novgorod protest against the detention of Dmitry Buchenkov, credit: avtonom.org