Another day, another name

[Being easily distracted, I have neither posted recently nor managed to start this series when it started. Even so!]

Bolotnaya case. One Day–One Name. Yaroslav Belousov.

The Committee for May 6 has been posting stories every day to recognize and share information about each individual who has fallen under the expanding criminal case involved participants in last year’s May 6 rally, which ended in clashes with police and arrests. As one might imagine, the story of who started the clashes varies dramatically according to who is telling it. The Committee for May 6’s stories are a bit sentimental, but even so it’s a neat exercise, expressing both the scope and the twisty methods of this particular series of repressions. Here’s today’s story (all translation mistakes mine):

April 14th is the day of solidarity with Yaroslav Belousov, one of 27 people undergoing the so-called “Bolotnaya case”—the most massive and loudest political criminal case of recent years.

Yaroslav is all of 21 years old. His parents raised him to be a calm, steadfast, and caring person. Clever, erudite, empathetic with what is happening around him, this young man decided to change our country for the better—and not just in his free time, but devoting his life to it. That’s why Belousov entered the Department of Political Science of Moscow State University. There he met his future wife, Tamara, also born in ’91. Soon the students were married, and little Andrei was born. They raised their son together, they studied together, they discussed national events together… As their friend Artyom describes it, “Yaroslav and Tamara are botanists, the red diploma of MSU lights the way for them.”

An honest person, a future political scientist, for whom the study of politics was the business of his life, Belousov couldn’t limit himself to mere textbooks, remaining on the side of the surge in the protest movement that started at the end of 2011. During the Duma elections, he decided to become an observer for one of the election stations. For the presidential elections, he took on an even larger role: member of a precinct election commission in an advisory capacity. And the subject he chose for a term paper was quite real: “The role of social media in the protest movement.” He calls himself a national-democrat. It is clear that Belousov had to come to Bolotnaya square on May 6—to an authorized protest rally. And there access to the park—the intended location of the action—was unexpectedly blocked. Riot police started to force the protesters out, to beat dozens of boys and girls with batons, to push them into overcrowded vans. They arrested Yaroslav, too, releasing him a day later. . .

In June, session [the exam period] for the fourth year students started at the university. Belousov managed to pass two exams, but two days before the third, on June 9th, he was arrested again—and this time he wasn’t released. The investigation states that he “threw stones and chunks of asphalt and broke through the cordon to strike representatives of the authorities.” The only evidence is testimony from the “injured” party, and because there was no identification lineup, the police officer “recognized” the accused from a photograph.

A request to transfer Yaroslav from the jail cell to house arrest was refused. Problems with his sight were also ignored: one eye is -10, the other -6, and in addition he has asthma, which is especially difficult insofar as almost everyone in the cells smokes. And the fact that his child was only two years old, and poor Tamara could not study and raise him at the same time. And letters from the teachers at MSU. And the request from ten deputies to release Belousov on bail…

Yaroslav himself writes from prison: “It’s unlikely we can count on justice from the system. But a higher punitive instrument is found in the court of our people. This human court is more important for us.”

Support Yaroslav Belousov—a good, honest man, who became a victim of the police and investigative tyranny!

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