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St. Petersburg Open Russia coordinator jailed for 25 days

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Andrei Pivovarov at the protest on January 28 in St. Petersburg

by Sarah Hurst

Open Russia’s coordinator in St. Petersburg, Andrei Pivovarov, was detained in the entrance to his building this morning, swiftly put on trial and sentenced to 25 days in prison for his participation in the protests organised by Alexei Navalny on January 28. Pivovarov’s name appears on a list of 20 people from St. Petersburg who are wanted by authorities in connection with that day’s events. The youngest of them, Mark Dyakov, is 14 years old. Yesterday two other St. Petersburg activists were sentenced to 25 days and five days in prison – the latter, Vladimir Shipitsyn, for holding a Ukrainian flag at the gathering to commemorate Boris Nemtsov on Sunday.

“Apparently the Smolny is so uncertain of the result even in this ‘election’ that it’s trying to isolate me from them,” Pivovarov wrote on Facebook after his sentencing, referring to the St. Petersburg governor’s office. “It’s stupid, of course. My arrest only demonstrates their weakness and fear. Don’t let them miss me! I’ll be with you soon, until then!”

Meanwhile, Russian authorities informed Navalny himself that he would go on trial on March 5 in connection with his participation in the January 28 rally in Moscow, where he briefly walked on Tverskaya Street before being detained. His charge sheet says that he shouted “Swindlers and thieves!” and the crowd responded. Navalny faces up to 30 days in prison. This would keep him safely out of the way for the March 18 election and post-election period.

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