Case against Murmansk blogger returned to investigators

The case against Blogger51 is not solid enough for court, prosecutors in Murmansk say.

The criminal case against Murmansk-based blogger Aleksander Serebryanikov, better known as Blogger51, has not been accepted by the prosecuting authorities in Murmansk Oblast and has been returned to the investigators for further investigation.


Serebraynikov takes this latest development as a good sign: “It’s not an ideal variant, but it’s good: the prosecutor shows that there is not enough evidence of my guilt”, he says to BarentsObsever.

Aleksander Serebryanikov was accused for extremism in August 2013 and charged for violating paragraph 282 in the Russian criminal code. The paragraph concerns actions aimed at the incitement of national, racial, or religious enmity.  Serebryanikov himself denies all accusations of violating the law.

Serebryanikov, who is still denied to leave Murmansk, is uncertain what will happen next, but he fears that the case will be lengthy:

“I hope it will end soon, but I don’t know, what’s next. I hope they will close the case”, he says. “The investigator should close my case and say “sorry dude”, but he will be mad and try inventing something else.”

Many in the community of bloggers and Internet commentators in Murmansk 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.

Blogger51 is often quoted in regional media in the Murmansk region, but has also been used as a source in Norwegian and other foreign media. When he posted unique pictures and videos of the fire aboard the nuclear-powered submarine “Yekaterinburg” he was contacted by many of the largest newspapers in Norway, and a video about buying of votes for United Russia in the parliamentary elections was even posted by the New York Times.