On 3 August, Russian actor Pavel Ustinov was violently arrested by riot police in the vicinity of protests in Moscow, report Human Rights Centre Memorial. The publication asserts that Ustinov was not involved in the protests, which involved a non-violent walk around Moscow’s Boulevard Ring, but was instead waiting from a friend outside Pushkinskaya metro station.
Video footage of the arrest agrees with this assertion. However, in the scuffle, a police officer’s shoulder was dislocated – with a remand court later sentencing Ustinov to three years in prison for “resisting arrest”. The Moscow Times reports Ustinov has since been released from the Moscow City Court on bail, in large part given the public and high-profile outcry regarding his arrest and detention.
See the footage below of the event. Warning that the violent nature of the arrest may affect some readers.
“We stand with the artist and urge authorities to provide a just and commensurate response to his case,” says Delphine Pawlik, Freemuse Programme Manager.
Ustinov has denied that he resisted arrest, reported by Zona media as stating in court, “physically could not cause harm to a person three times stronger than me. I did not take part in the protest rally and had no intention to cause harm.”
The artistic community in Russia and abroad have shown their support to Ustinov and their opposition to his harsh treatment by Russian authorities.
The New York Times cites fellow actor Aleksandr Pal as one such campaigner for Ustinov, calling for flash mobs and other forms of protest.
“This is a completely trumped-up case. From the video of his arrest, it is clear that Pasha [Ustinov] wasn’t resisting national guard servicemen and riot police, that he wasn’t chanting any slogans,” said in an online statement and cited by The New York Times.
Ustinov will appeal the case on Monday 23 September.
We stand with the global artistic community in calling for all charges to be dropped.
What can you do?
- Show your solidarity by sharing this image on social media
- Stay alert – Freemuse will update you with future advocacy action