FSB raids Murmansk blogger's apartment

Aleksander Serebryanikov, known as Blogger51, is accused of extremism because of a comment on his blog.

This morning police and FSB agents searched the bloggers apartment, looking for evidence that could prove his extremist motives.


“This is hysteria”, Aleksander Serebryanikov says to BarentsObserver through social media.

Today his flat and the flat of his parents were ransacked by Russia’s Federal Security Agency, FSB. The investigators took all electronics, Serebryanikov’s passport, credit cards and advocate papers, as well as several books.

“They are looking for something more. Previous time they found nothing,” says Serebryanikov.

Punitive psychiatry
Yesterday BarentsObserver reported that the famous Murmansk-blogger will have to go through a mental examination. Citizens Watch, a St. Petersburg-based human rights organization, says this is a clear message to the civil society in Russia.

“According to the authorities a person criticizing the government must be sick, “says Elena Shahova, Deputy Chair of Citizens Watch, in a phone interview with BarentsObserver. “This line of argument was common in Soviet times, and we see a clear parallel developing in Russia today.”

The people in charge in today’s Russia are the same people who got their education in the Soviet Union. According to Shahova they were members of the communist party, KGB, police or the prosecutor office.

“They used these methods before. Why not reintroduce them now,” Shahova asks.  

Forced to silence
According to Shahova, Aleksander Serebryanikov`s case is not unique in its kind. Similar cases have gradually increased after the huge demonstrations in the aftermath of Putin`s reelection in 2011.

“Russian authorities got scared. The bloggers, ordinary people, could change the public opinion,” says Shahova. “Criticism was open then, but is now punished with a serious crack-down on freedom of speech”.