Independent public portal on impartial trial monitoring

Case on incitement to hatred and offense to the feelings of believers

11.04.2023 @ 14:42 – 15:42 Europe/Helsinki Timezone
Case on incitement to hatred and offense to the feelings of believers

About the case: Pavel Golikov is accused of violating the right to freedom of conscience and religion (Part 1 of Article 148 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) and inciting hatred (Paragraph “a” of Part 2 of Article 282 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). According to the investigation, in April 2020, Golikov produced an offensive video in which he made negative comments about Orthodoxy, mocked the prayer “In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.” Additionally, Golikov allegedly threatened with violence in connection with religious affiliation, demonstrating a hatchet, machete, and tear gas “Shpaga” in the trunk of his car, and expressed an intention to “hunt Christians.”

The case is being heard in the Petrodvorets District Court, with Judge Marina Nikolaevna Sedykh presiding

  • I have to ask who came here – a witness? – the judge asks before the start of the hearing.
  • No, Your Honor, I’m a member of the public, – I reply and sit back down.

Prosecutor changes, and attorney Zolotaryov is absent, with only defense attorney Zhuravlyov present in the process.

The questioning of the witnesses begins, the first one being Vitaliy Makarov, who works in the 4th Department of Center “E” (Main Department for Combating Extremism of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation), the Main Department for St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region.

– Why aren’t you wearing a mask? – the judge notices.

Makarov went out into the hallway to find a mask.

The witness said he was familiar with Golikov, but the defendant claims that he sees him for the first time. It turned out that they went to the Investigation Department together. Makarov did not interrogate the defendant, except for a conversation during the trip. The people who interrogated Golikov could not attend the court.

– So, we received information that in the 85th police department of the city of St. Petersburg there was registered a check material in relation to a person who posted a video clip in the social network Vkontakte, which, respectively, shows, as eeeh… church places, of the city of Lomonosov, the cathedral, a gas cylinder, an ax, and some other specific objects are shown, and the video of such content that… a video was posted on the Internet as a “hunt for Christians,” – the witness Makarov explains.

The witness said that during the investigation, people were questioned, including the priest of the church. He reported that one of the parishioners complained about the video on the internet – the priest watched the video and reported it to the police. The Center “E” collected materials, identified the author, conducted a search at Golikov’s place, seized an axe and “electronic data storage devices,” and initiated a criminal case.

The witness recounted the content of the video. As far as Makarov knows about the defendant’s motives, the video was edited as a joke.

Proceeding to the questioning of the second witness – Alexander Buchnikov, who works as a senior operative in the 4th Department of Center “E”, of the Main Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region.

The witness conducted the interrogation of the defendant and his acquaintance, Karina Palatova, regarding the case material. The witness “did not delve” into where the case material came from.

According to the witness, the defendant, Golikov, wanted to show “double standards of isolation.”

– There was an isolation declared with a ban on any mass events, – the witness explains. – And this happened during the Easter. Accordingly, either a procession or a service should be held there. And he, as far as my understanding goes, wanted to film it.

As for whether the film contained any assessment of faith or religion, the witness does not remember. Whether the video is offensive, the Center E employee does not venture to claim.

– So there was a criminal case related to something? – the judge finally asks. – If everything is good.

The witness remains silent.

  • So this video only shows the violation of self-isolation? – Judge asks.
  • No, I don’t think so… – Witness.   
  • You don’t think so, – sighs the judge. – What did Golikov explain to you during the interrogation? Do you remember or don’t you?
  • I, Your Honour, have questioned more than a hundred people for two years, – says Buchnikov.
  • Well, I understand… – The judge.

From Buchnikov’s testimony, it follows that the defendant commented on Orthodoxy and religion in general in a negative tone, using offensive words and expressions. The witness supported his statements.

Defense lawyer Zhuravlev asked everyone about what ARM-monitoring is, but none of the witnesses could provide an answer.

The defendant’s mother, Svetlana Stanislavovna, a pensioner, is being questioned.

Golikova knows what her son is accused of. The woman explained that the family observes Christian holidays, and Pavel participates in them. She has never noticed her son harboring hatred towards anyone. He has many friends of different religions and nationalities. She doesn’t know any prayers herself and considers herself an atheist. Whether her son knows any prayers, the witness is unaware.

She did not watch the video herself; she only heard about it from an “inspector”. She did not recognize the weapons mentioned in the case materials. She claims that, in her household, “all axes are the same.” Among the items presented as evidence, there was a “toy ax,” which the witness assumed belonged to Palatova. Golikova also explains her son’s motives by criticizing the restrictions during the pandemic.

Golikov requests a change in the measure of restraint – the defendant asks to extend the evening walk time by 30-40 minutes. This would allow Golikov to walk his pets. Zhuravlev supports his client, while the prosecutor opposes it. The judge goes into deliberation.

After 20 minutes, the judge refuses to change the walk time.

Post comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Support our work

© 2019-2021 Independent public portal on impartial trial monitoring