Criminal charges against famous Murmansk blogger

Aleksandr Serebryanikov was blogging from the Barents Summit in Kirkenes in early June 2013.

Aleksandr Serebryanikov, better known as Blogger 51, faces charges of extremism according to sources within the power structures in Murmansk Wednesday evening.


Aleksandr Serebryanikov is the owner of the most famous blog in the Russian part of the Barents Region. He publishes information you wouldn’t be aware of by reading newspaper or watching TV in the Murmansk region.

Bloger 51 was the first to publish photos; video and written information when the nuclear powered submarine “Yekaterinburg” was stroked by fire in late December 2011 north of Murmansk. Simultaneously as Defense Ministry spokesmen in Moscow claimed the fire was distinguished, blogger 51’s photos and video showed the submarine was still burning. It later become known the burning submarine was packed with nuclear warheads.

The photos were republished by BarentsObserver in this slide-show.

Several local media in Murmansk report Wednesday evening that Aleksandr Serebryanikov is incriminated for violating paragraph 282 in the Russian criminal code. The paragraph concerns actions aimed at the incitement of national, racial, or religious enmity, abasement of human dignity, and also propaganda of the exceptionality, superiority, or inferiority of individuals by reason of their attitude to religion, national, or racial affiliation, if these acts have been committed in public or with the use of mass media.

Nothing is said on why Aleksandr Serebryanikov is named central in the criminal case now under investigation.

Serebryanikov comes from the mining town Apatity, a three hour drive south of Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula His blog is widely read in the region of Murmansk. Due to its popularity he also gets advertisements on the blog, which makes it profitable enough to carry on..

In early June, BarentsObserver in cooperation with Borderstories published a video-portrait with Aleksandr Serebryanikov where his way of documenting everyday life and happenings in the Murmansk region via the blogg was shown.

See the video-portrait.

Maximum penalty under pargraph 282 is deprivation of liberty for a term of two to four years. 

News agency Flash Nord has not managed to get comments from Serebryanikov on the claimed charges. His phone was turned off Wednesday. The news article by Flash Nord is flavored by a photo of Aleksandr Serebryanikov together with Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev taken during the Barents Summit in Kirkenes on June 4th.

Also B-Port confirms the story with references to “well informed sources in the power structures.”

Paragraph 282 is a well-known law used to charge persons believed to be in opposition. Last year, Pomor society leader Ivan Moseev in Arkhangelsk was charged of incitement of ethnic hatred, paragraph 282. Moseev was found guilty as charged of derogation of ethnic groups “Russians” and prescribed a fine of 100,000 rubles (€2,500).

Crackdown on opposition bloggers have increased in Russia after anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny helped to deprive Vladimir Putin’s party of its two-thirds majority in the December 2011 State Duma election.