IGOR ORLOVSKY, Russian Orthodox Church (Krasnoyarsk)

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Igor Orlovsky

Igor Orlovsky – an Orthodox believer from Krasnoyarsk, publicist, speleologist, and worker. Studied at the Moscow Theological Seminary.

Since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, he started writing indignant anti-war comments on the VK social network.

Several weeks later during the monitoring of social networks, police officers discovered two comments. One of them, as follows from the materials of the criminal case, was qualified as “a call for the destruction of Russian military personnel taking part in a special military operation on the territory of Ukraine”. The second – as “a call for the physical destruction of the current president to stop his state and political activities”. Orlovsky received a call from the prosecutor’s office and was informed of two administrative cases against him under Article 20.3.3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (Discrediting the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation) for these comments. Two months later, in the summer of 2023, the court fined him 30,000 rubles for each comment. Orlovsky admitted to the authorship of the comments but categorically refused to admit guilt.

On 10 January 2023, a task force raided Orlovsky’s apartment; the group consisted of police and FSB officers accompanied by an investigator from the Second department for the investigation of especially important cases of the Main Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee, and five masked soldiers. Only a copy of the Constitution, the latest issue of Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper and a note with a prayer for Ukraine and Russia were confiscated. Orlovsky was charged with public calls for extremism and terrorism (Part 2 of Article 205.2 and Part. 2 Article 280 of the Criminal Code) based on the same two comments on VK. The case against Orlovsky was largely built on the linguistic assessment of the Siberian Federal University’s lecturers Natalia Zhbankova and Olga Felde.

Orlovsky was under recognizance not to leave until March 2023. Within one week of March 2023, five court hearings regarding criminal cases related to the two comments on VK with alleged calls for extremism and terrorism were held. The state prosecution requested for Orlovsky six and a half years of imprisonment due to the social danger of the ‘criminal acts’ he committed. The First District Military Court sentenced Orlovsky to three years in prison with a ban on publishing on the internet for two years after release. Orlovsky was taken into custody in the courtroom and placed in a pre-trial detention center in Krasnoyarsk. Rosfinmonitoring added the believer to the list of terrorists and extremists.

During the review of the materials of the criminal case, it became known that Orlovsky’s posts on social media formed the basis of another criminal case about the “rehabilitation of Nazism” (Part 2 of Article 354.1 of the Criminal Code). In a comment on the VK social network, Orlovsky compared the policies of Hitler and Stalin before the outbreak of World War II. He referred to the works of historical publicists Solonin, Nikonov and Suvorov (Rezun); he called both tyrants aggressors. Based on this comment, an assessment was carried out by Alla Kipchatova, Anna Tolmacheva and Mikhail Shibaev of the Krasnoyarsk Pedagogical University. They concluded that the Soviet government never acted as an aggressor.

The charges against Orlovsky were soon supplemented by an article about “fakes” regarding the Russian Armed Forces (Part 2 of Article 207.3 of the Criminal Code). The charge was concerned with Orlovsky’s comments about the missile attacks on Mariupol: “Why did the Russian occupiers attack Ukraine? Why was Mariupol wiped off the face of the earth? Why do troops kill civilians? Why are they torturing civilians?”He cited the report of the then Ukrainian Ombudsman Lyudmila Denisova about the rape of women and minors in Bucha.

Currently, Orlovsky is held in a pre-trial detention centre while Krasnoyarsk Regional Court is considering the ‘rehabilitation of Nazism’ and ‘fakes’ cases.

In May 2023, the Support for Political Prisoners. Memorial human rights project recognized Orlovsky as a political prisoner and his criminal prosecution for anti-war comments – as politically motivated and illegal.