Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Kremlin cops fail foiling Leonid Nikolaev´s cunning caper & escape

After being beaten up by Kremlin cops, Voina co-founder and art activist Leonid Nikolaev (aka 'Leo the Fucknut´) on 4 December in St. Petersburg resists arrest, fingerprinting and devises improv cunning plan to escape.

He simply walks away through magnetic door he keeps slighly ajar and disappears into the night armed with evidence to prosecute his abductors.
I reprint today´s Free Voina website story, making a few minor style and editing changes but altering nothing Nikolaev writes about his caper with Kremlin coppers. 
The emphasis and bold faced head notes breaking up the story are mine.

This is reprinted with Voina´s permission.

06 Dec 2011, 18:24 (St. Petersburg time)

Leo The Fucknut aka Leonid Nikolaev

Leonid Nikolaev escapes police in the morning of 5 Dec.  

Leonid’s account of the events from the Free Voina website:

As I approached Gostiny Dvor, I was concerned about the possibility of being intercepted by police. Nevertheless, I reached the square without a problem.

I was late by 10 minutes, and the most prominent activists have already been arrested. Whistling could be heard all over the square. I walked up to Maxim Gromov and we chatted for a bit. The press soon surrounded us so we gave a few interviews.

I liked the idea with the whistles, especially when I heard The Other Russia activist Galya Hrenova whistling melodies.

We got a few people together and started whistling as a group. After doing a couple popular tunes, I hit them with The Internationale. Everyone recognized the song and joined in even though the whistle can only produce one note.

Whistling in protest against electoral fraud. Gostiny Dvor, St. Petersburg. 4 December 2011

When that was over, I noticed the riot police forming a huge circle as if they were planning to arrest everyone on the square. We started moving immediately.

I had plans for the night with Oleg so I could not afford to get arrested, though I still felt shame over having to run from the cops.

Galya and I managed to slip through the police line. The cops encircled the square entirely and started grabbing random passers-by from the crowd.

We were so busy pitying the unlucky bystanders that I didn’t notice the two cops sneaking up on me until it was too late. I was resisting, and the two of them couldn’t get me inside the police bus.

Two more soon appeared,

I was grabbed by arms and legs and carried through the square towards the bus. I clung to the handle bars as they struggled to push me into the bus, but the odds were against me.

Then there was a long ride to a remote area of the city. The cops in the bus were getting on my nerves, and the feeling was mutual.

We started shouting and being unruly.

Non-political passers-by caught kettled by Kremlin cops, also detained.

It turned out that two of the detainees in our bus were random passers-by. One of them was a guy who had gone out to buy a ticket. The other was a serious business man.

We explained to the business guy that he was going to be detained 'till morning, at least, and that the cops did not give a shit that he was a random pedestrian.

They would probably testify that he had been holding a banner while chanting political slogans.

The dude refused to believe us. He said there was no way something like this could happen, because false testimony is a criminal offense. 

At the police station, after he saw it happen with his own eyes, he asked us a ton of questions about the prospects of prosecuting a police officer for false testimony. He seemed bloodthirsty. I hope he follows through with his plan. It could set a precedent.

The bus stopped in front of police station #15, which is located on Rustaveli street.

The cops started taking people inside at a rate of about one person every 40 minutes.

At cop shop No. 15, 13 detainees are processed

Meanwhile, everyone else had to wait in the bus (there were 13 people).

We saw two guys in civilian clothes exit the bus. Galya noted that they had been riding with us the entire trip.

The cops explained that they were FSB (successor security organ to KGB).

I was surprised to see FSB people there instead of the usual Center E. [Ed. Note--Center E is special branch of FSB dedicated to stamping out extremism and terrorism, a spy agency like MI5.]

There was indeed a marked difference between those two and your typical Center E thug (I can actually recognize many of them by face).

The FSB operatives had been very inconspicuous and low profile. Center E agents, on the other hand, are incapable of that. Those thugs always start a confrontation and blow their cover as a result.

I was the last person to leave the bus, and by then I was so furious at the cops that I decided I would try to inconvenience them as much as possible.

As soon as my feet touched the ground, I made a dash for the street.

Dash for freedom fails, 'Vassily from Cherepovets' appears

Unfortunately, I almost got hit by a minivan as I was crossing the road, and had to pause for a second.

This slight delay was enough for the cops to catch up to me. They led me back in an armlock.

When ordered to identify myself by cops at the station, I refused, identifying myself only as “Vassily from Cherepovets”.

The last time I tried to pull this trick (which was at the 78th police station on 31 March), I was promptly recognized by some of the officers.

They knew my face from my previous stay at the 78th, which was in the aftermath of our “Dick captured by the FSB!”.

Besides, Center E people were quick to arrive back then. Incidentally, I immediately suggested to the cops at the 15th that they contact Center E and make them drag their eshki asses over there and identify me.

But the eshki weren’t coming. I was curious to know what was going to happen next. What’s the procedure for dealing with someone with no ID who refuses to identify himself?

'Yadda, yadda, yadda, all the usual shit'

First, I was approached by a local operative in civilian clothes, a stocky, bald guy, somewhat resembling Dmitri Dinze.

He started explaining to me that if I didn’t stop getting on his nerves I’d regret it, yadda yadda yadda, all the usual shit. 

I replied that it was all very tragic, but that I was Vassily from Cherepovets and that was all I could remember.

Then they decided they were going to take me to another police station to take my fingerprints.

“Fools,” I thought to myself. “They’re going to drive me all the way there, only to find out that I’m not going to consent to the procedure. The trip will be wasted.”

So they took me to police station #57.

As they led me to the fingerprint scanner, I announced that I did not consent to fingerprinting.

There was a heated discussion, during which the cops tried to convince me that what they were about to do wasn’t the same thing as fingerprinting, and thus they had the right to use force.

I refused to believe them and demanded to see my attorney. 

Nikolaev resists forced finger printing

I also warned them that I wouldn’t go down easily.

They did not seem to take that seriously, for some reason.

The cop in charge of the scanner grabbed my hand, but I clenched my fist and pressed it tightly against my chest. The cop seemed very surprised. “Woah, is that so?” Soon there was another guy helping him with the hand.

Meanwhile, I used my free hand to turn off the scanner.

Two more cops ran up to us. The scanner was turned back on, and from that point on all I could do was spit into it.

I was resisting pretty heavily, and soon I found myself on the floor with my hands cuffed behind my back. As they were cuffing me, the cops did not hesitate to use submission holds and punches in the torso, followed by a punch in the face. 

That just got a rise out of me. I couldn’t resist four men while handcuffed, and eventually they unclenched my fist and took my fingerprints.
At this point, a superior appeared.

He asked what the problem was, and why I refused to identify myself and resisted.

I explained to him in a very polite fashion that there was no problem, except that the officers had refused to identify themselves per my request. I told him all I wanted was for them to follow the law and name themselves.

Vonia´s Fucknut turns tables on cops

“So if we identify ourselves, will you tell us your name?”

We started bargaining. I asserted that I would only name myself if I was first allowed to write down the names of everyone who had physically abused me.

The police chief agreed to that, but refused to let me call my attorney.

Delightedly, I got down to work.

As we walked around  the police station, I pointed at the officers I was interested in, and they had to show their ID.

Everyone tried to do the “magic hand wave” where they flash the ID at you for a split second and mumble something incoherent, and then sneer smugly.

But the chief needed to know my name, and so they had to let me write down their names. Here’s the list:

corporal L. S. Pervenyuk,
major V. P. Chulkov,
corporal M. A. Osipenkov,
captain A. V. Zadorozniy.

The superior told me I was acting “like a… like a…” “Like a public prosecutor,” I suggested. “Exactly.”

All in all, my curiosity was satisfied.

I now knew exactly what happens when you refuse fingerprinting.

Incidentally, my prints didn’t seem to give the cops any new information about me. Which is strange, because I had been fingerprinted before, during my time in jail.

While I was still at the 57th, I took the opportunity to file a report against the officers who had beaten me. Right now I’m going to a doctor to document the injuries.

The cash bribe: 'Don´t you have a cash register?'

All the cops who had participated in the fingerprinting were now writing down their statements explaining why physical force and handcuffs were used. I wonder what they came up with.

Patrol cops brought in an Asian-looking man and a woman. “Where’s the 130?” one of the cops reminded the woman as he was writing her up. She then put some cash between his papers and walked out of the building.

As soon as she was gone, I started asking questions.

“Don’t you have a cash register? Where’s her receipt? You forgot to give her a receipt for the fine!” etc.

The cops were startled. It’s a good idea to put your “business” on hold while you’re dealing with the opposition, but I guess the 57th never got the memo.

The partol cop said, "It could have been anything, she was returning a debt.”

Others pretended they hadn’t seen anything, but everyone was a bit shocked. It showed on their faces. The entire thing happened in full view of a CCTV camera. The recording will most likely disappear, but I’m still going to report them.

Then they drove me back to the 15th. The cops kept a tight hold on me.

I heard them say that if I were to escape again, that would be a complete disaster.

A nerdy cop told me he hadn’t expected such tricks from me.

Everything I had said about the video evidence, the complaints I was going to file with the public prosecutor’s office, the criminal penalties they could face etc. seemed to have had an effect on him. 

While documenting my arrival, he followed all of my demands, even going so far as to argue with other cops.

When that was done, I was taken to a separate part of the police station reserved for the detainees.

The door there had a remotely controlled magnetic lock. I had to wait there while the cops were dealing with the paperwork.

Everyone was being charged under articles 20.1 part 2 (violating the established procedure for participation in rallies) and 19.3 (non-compliance with police orders). 

The businessman still couldn’t believe anything that was going on.

This was his first real encounter with the Russian police system.

Meanwhile, I noticed that the magnetic lock door wasn’t being watched as closely as before.

Exploring the cop cage, Nikolaev conceives cunning plan and escapes (quietly)

There was a cage in the room, and I decided that now was the time to explore, since I would probably end up inside the cage eventually.

The fire exit was locked, the windows barred. The magnetic door was the only way out. I had to use it.

Soon one of the cops walked out through the door. I immediately walked up to the door and leaned against it.

My fingers were blocking it from closing all the way. When the moment was right, I opened the door and walked out.

After walking through a couple of corridors, I was free. I’m not sure when my absence was noticed, but there was no pursuit.

As I walked through the city, I felt rage.

They detained me and tried to ruin my plans for the night, and they spent several hours explaining to me that I was nobody, a loser, that I had no rights but only obligations.

But I got my full revenge. They fucked up three times:
  1. by accepting a bribe in my presense,
  2. by letting me get away. This is also a criminal offense (negligence).
  3. by roughing me up during fingerprinting. This is a criminal offense (abuse of authority and batter),
And they’re really going to get it from their superiors now.

Why do I do this, they asked me.

I just want them to remember: if you’re a cop and there’s a protest rally planned, call in sick and stay the fuck home.

'Never fuck with Leo the Fucknut'

And never fuck with Leo the Fucknut. It will cost you dearly.

The best thing is that escaping from police is becoming a part of Voina’s style.

Kozlenok escaped from the convoy vehicle together with another girl activist as they were being taken to the court on 1 April.

Vor got away during the arrest attempt on 18 October.

Tonight it was my turn.

It takes serious skill on part of the cops to keep fucking up like that.

A doctored image of Putin
V. Putin portrayed as paunchy, aging L. Brezhnev (c) Moscow Times, 30 Sept. 2011, author unknown

Rock on and practice peace and love.
Stefan, the ArtTraveler ™

ArtTraveler notes:

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The owner and staff are affable and speak English and German. Tel: 0036-1-413-3510;;

Visit Andalusia for a walking holiday or week-long sculpture or mosaics workshop. 

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