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Published in Stream:
Ukraine Live Day 672
Press by
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
76-Year-Old Protester Vladimir Ionov, Charged In Moscow, Flees To Ukraine
4 years
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Grani.ru reports that 76-year-old Vladimir Ionov, a regular protester in Moscow who was under prosecution by the Russian authorities for conducting repeated, unsanctioned protests, has fled to Ukraine.

Last month prosecutors requested that Ionov receive a three-year suspended sentence, with sentencing due on December 8.

This was despite the fact that Ionov had usually conducted solo pickets, standing alone with placards, which would not be illegal even under the draconian anti-protest legislation introduced in July, 2014.

However as Halya Coynash of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group explains, the authorities regularly use provocateurs to qualify these solo protests as illegal group demonstrations:

Of particular concern here is the way the ‘offences’ are effectively manufactured.  Both Ionov and Galperin are accused over single-person pickets which do not require authorization.  A standard form of provocation is to have someone go up to the picketers, and refuse to go away.  The police immediately turn up and detain both (the provocateur only nominally) for ‘holding an unsanctioned meeting’. 

Ionov's sentencing was deferred until December 23 after he was hospitalised with heart issues on December 7.

Under the terms imposed by the court on November 25, Ionov was barred from leaving Moscow or attending public events. 

Having been stripped of his passport, Ionov was forced to enter Ukraine illegally, passing through vegetable gardens on the border, before travelling by car to Kharkiv with his partner, Olga Braun, who had previously legally travelled to Ukraine.

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Vladimir Ionov and Olga Braun. Photo: Yuri Timofeyev/Grani.ru

Ionov said:

"I don't think that I have left forever. My motherland is Russia, and I think that there will soon be serious changes here. God grant that these changes take place without bloodshed."

-- Pierre Vaux