ANNA CHAGINA, Russian Orthodox Church (Tomsk, Russia)

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Anna Chagina

Musician Anna Chagina (born November 29, 1979).

She spoke out against the war in Ukraine on her social networks. On 6 March 2022 she participated in an anti-war demonstration at Novo-Sobornaya Square with a banner «Blessed are the peacemakers  (Matthew 5:9)» and was detained. On 12 March 2022 she was fined 45,000 Russian roubles by Tomsk’s Soviet District Court for “discrediting” the army under the new Administrative Code Article 20.3.3 («Public actions aimed at discrediting the use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation»). Last September, her VK page was blocked at the Prosecutor General’s request. On 30 November 2022, early in the morning, the security forces came to Chagina with a search as part of a criminal case under article 280.3 of the Criminal Code on repeated throughout the year discrediting the Russian army. The case is based on her VK posts and comments published from 4 May to 12 June 2022. This posts included information on anti-war Appeal of the Russian Orthodox clergy, online discussion on the war from a Christian point of view by Lutheran bishop Pavel Levushkan and religious philosopher Nikolai Karpitsky, as well as information on persecutions against priest of ROCOR (A) Ioann Kurmoyarov, as Forum18 reports.

After the search, Chagina was detained for 48 hours in a temporary detention facility.

On 1 December 2022, TV2 reported that the court imposed a preventive measure on Chagina – a ban on certain actions. She was prohibited from leaving the house between 10 pm and 6 am, receiving and sending correspondence, as well as using the internet and attending mass events. She also had to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

On 2 March 2023 it became known, that against Chagina in the Soviet Court of the city of Tomsk on 15 March 2023, a hearing will be held under Article 280.3 of the Criminal Code, the case will be considered by Judge Roman Zaynulin. Chagina faces up to 3 years in prison or a fine of up to 300,000 Russian rubles.

The Sovetskii District Court of the city of Tomsk considered the case in July 2023.

Anna Chagina once again did not admit her guilt, and asked for an acquittal:

I stand by my point of view that any military action is unacceptable. I call war a war. What is taking place now in Ukraine also concerns our country, and I consider it a political, social and economic catastrophe. For me, as a person who loves life, loves their neighbours, and loves our planet – all this is a painful experience. For me personally, this is a huge pain. My heartache was the main motive for what I did. Based on my personal convictions, I tried to reflect on what was happening, including through the text of another person. All the accusations are based on the text of another person, not my personal views. And I emphasize once again that my point of view does not always coincide with the point of view of Nikolai Karpitsky. I believe that the expert examination of his texts has nothing to do with me. Evidence of his negative attitude towards the actions of the Russian army also has nothing to do with me. Personally, I have never allowed any boorish, rude and derogatory words towards any military. Despite the fact that I am a staunch pacifist. […] I do not think that the expression of my position is destabilizing for society, despite the testimony of two witnesses. I do not admit my guilt and ask to acquit me.

On 7 August 2023 a trial took place, judge Roman Zainulin fined Anna Chagina 100 thousand rubles, and also banned her from posting publications on the Internet for two years. According to her lawyer, this is the minimum punishment under the imputed article.

She attempted to challenge this decision, but the Tomsk Regional Court confirmed the earlier verdict.