The blogger was taken into questioning by the police in June and had status as witness in the case until this week, when his status changed to suspect and now to accused. He has been imposed to travel restrictions and forced to sign a nondisclosure agreement. All details in the case are kept secret.
Serebraynikov is charged 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.
Serebryanikov himself denies all accusations of violating the law.
The community of bloggers and Internet commentators in Murmansk is protesting the case against Serebryanikov and the way independent bloggers and journalists in the region are being harassed. Many believe that the case against Blogger 51 is a result of critical articles published in his blog. Exposure of bureaucratic stupidity and abuse of authority by public servants and officials are amongst his favourite topics, he said in an interview with BarentsObserver last year.
According to people the web site FlashNord has been talking to, the case against Serebryanikov is fabricated by the regional authorities. “While the previous leadership tolerated criticism from this site, the current one – led by Governor Marina Kovtun, has the intention to terminate it”, an anonymous source says. The straw that broke the camel’s back is said to be the publication of a shortened version of an article called “Polar Widow”, which contains sharp criticism against Kovtun. The article was originally published in Moscow Post in March, but has later been deleted both from that site and from Blogger51.
Bloger51.com was the first to publish photos, video and written information when the nuclear powered submarine “Yekaterinburg” was hit by fire in late December 2011 north of Murmansk.
The case against Blogger 51 has received a lot of attention both in the Murmansk region and in Norway. “Blogger 51 is considered to be a very important source to information that you cannot find in other media”, NRK wrote. A video proving election fraud in Murmansk that was published on the blog also received attention from the New York Times.
Video-portrait of Aleksander Serebryanikov in cooperation with Borderstories: