Russia: Theatre group detained and attacked by police

30 July 2018
Nine employees of Teatr.Doc were detained by Moscow police officers who suggested that the employees appeared as though they were using drugs.
Photo: Teatr.Doc / Facebook


On 4 July 2018, nine members of Teatr.Doc were detained by Moscow police officers who refused to provide a legitimate reason for having approached the group while they were walking through a city park. The officers said the theatre members appeared as though they were using drugs, reported popular online Russian newspaper Lenta.Ru.

Around midnight, the theatre group decided to take a stroll through Chistiye Prudy Park following a performance. While in the park, they were approached by six men, five of whom were wearing civilian clothing and one who was wearing a police uniform. According to actress Maria Chuprinskaya, the men began to show the group posts from their social media profiles that showed them handing out leaflets about Ukranian director Oleg Sentsov who is currently on a hunger strike after being sentenced to 20 years in prison on charges of terrorism that are related to his political activism against Russia over the conflict between Russian and Ukraine that began in 2014, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Lenta Ru.

Director Kudryashov began to use his phone to record the interaction between them and the officers after one of the officers allegedly struck actress Tatianna Demidova in the stomach. However, according to the director, police confiscated his phone and erased the recording before detaining some members of the group and taking them to the Basmannoe police station, reported Russian liberal-leaning outlet MediaZona.

Demidova, who was not detained with her coworkers, was found in the park by another Teatr.Doc director, Zarema Zaudinova. Zaudinova noted that she recognised one of the officers to be Alexei Okopny, a member of the Center for Combating Extremism—an organisation known to target activists who are in opposition of the current Russian government, explained MediaZona and independent global media openDemocracy.

The group was detained in the station for two hours before being released. No charges were filed against them, wrote Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

The theatre members intend on filing a complaint.

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