Wants to send blogger to mental examination

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

The investigators in the case aginst Aleksander Serebryanikov, better known as Blogger51, want to send him to a psychiatric examination.


“I feel so tired from this delirium”, Serebraynikov says to BarentsObserver. “All the questions they want to ask are in an accusing tone, they’re just a form of humiliation”

The examination should reveal if Serebryanikov suffers from ‘any chronic or temporarily mental disorders, mental handicap or any other illnesses of the mind’, if he was in a ‘state of extreme emotional disturbance’ when he committed the crime he is accused of, and if he needs ‘compulsory measures of medical character’.

“I cannot accept the investigators’ accusation and actions”, Serebryanikov says.

One of the questions the investigators want answered is “Does Serebryanikov’s mental disorder represent any danger to himself or anybody else?”

Serebraynikov was in August charged for violating paragraph 282 in the Russian criminal code because of a comment on his web site in March 2013. The paragraph concerns actions aimed at the incitement of national, racial, or religious enmity. Serebryanikov himself denies all accusations of violating the law.

Serebraynikov is not allowed to travel outside Murmansk as long as the investigation is going on, and the number of advertisers on his blog has gone down, reducing his incomes.

The maximum penalty for violations of paragraph 282 is two years of prison.

Postponed because of public attention
Serebryanikov was supposed to meet for the mental examination on Wednesday, but the day before his lawyer got a phone call from the investigator’s office, saying the examination has been postponed indefinitely. Serebrynikov himself believes this is a result of all the attention the incident has received in local Murmansk media. Several web sites have informed that the blogger had been called in for a mental examination.

The investigators have until December 26 to come up with new evidence that can be used against the blogger. Serebryanikov believes the date limit will be prolonged, as a dismissal of the case now will only show the investigators have done a bad job.My investigator Evgeny Ambartsyuman is mad for having his case returned from the prosecutor”, he says. The investigator has earlier said to B-port that he does not consider Aleksander Serebryanikov to be a journalist, but a businessman.

The criminal case against Aleksander Serebryanikov was not accepted by the prosecuting authorities in Murmansk Oblast and returned to the investigators for further investigation in November.

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.