Logging truck driver Ruslan Zinin grabbed a sawed-off shotgun when, in the wake of the “partial” mobilization’s annoucement, a summons arrived for his brother. On September 26, Zinin went to the military enlistment office in Ust-Ilimsk (Irkutsk Region). Military commissar Alexander Yeliseyev was giving a speech as he dispatched dozens of people to the slaughter. His disdainful attitude towards the mobilized men, as well as his remarks that they themselves were to blame, that they had “piled up loans” and “had heaps of children,” outraged Zinin to the depths of his soul. At that moment, someone in the room asked, “Where are we going?” “We’re all going home now!” Zinin shouted back and fired twice at the military commissar.
Consequently, Zinin’s brother was not mobilized (and, perhaps, the mobilization was temporarily suspended in the district), and military commissar Yeliseyev spent a month and a half in the hospital.
Zinin himself was remanded in custody and charged with “encroachment on the life of a law enforcement officer” (per Article 317 of the Russian Federal Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).
The charge was incommensurate with Zinin’s actions [and the circumstances]: the military commissar is not a law enforcement officer and was not performing tasks to protect public order.
However, police investigators went even further and reclassified the charge to “commission of a terrorist act” (per Article 205.2.b of the Criminal Code).
Formally speaking, this is a lesser charge since it does not stipulate life imprisonment, unlike the previous one. However, there cannot be a jury trial for those charged with “terrorism,” judges cannot impose sentences below the statutory minimum, and part of the sentence must be served in a closed prison [as opposed to a penal colony, in which inmates live together in open-plan barracks]. This is not to mention the mass of smaller infringements on the rights of a person convicted as a “terrorist.” Person convicted under this article must be sentenced to between twelve and twenty years in prison.
Currently, we do not know Zinin’s opinion on the matter, nor the specifics of the indictment, because the defense lawyer was forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement. However, the Solidarity Zone team in any case considers the accusation unfounded, regarding it as nothing other than lawlessness on the part of law enforcement agencies and an attempt to intimidate society. One of the main points of the criminal code article on “terrorism” is to terrorize the populace. In this case it is not Zinin’s actions that constitute “terrorism,” but, on the contrary, the actions of the authorities.
As before, you can support Ruslan by sending him a letter or parcel. If your letters are not passed by the censor or you do not receive a reply from Ruslan, let us know and file a complaint. Templates for complaints can be found on our Telegram channel.
Address for letters and parcels:Zinin Ruslan Alexandrovich (born 1997) 63 ul. Barrikad, SIZO-1 Irkutsk 664019 Russian Federation
You can send letters electronically from anywhere in the world via the FSIN-Pismo service (subject to payment with a Russian-issued bank card) or the free, volunteer-run resource RosUznik (which allows you to remain anonymous).
Solidarity Zone is providing comprehensive assistance to Ruslan Zinin and his family.
Source: Solidarity Zone (Facebook), 9 March 2023. Translated by the Russian Reader. People living outside Russia will find it difficult, if not impossible, to use the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service’s FSIN-Pismo service. It is also probably impossible or nearly impossible to send parcels to Russian detention facilities from abroad. But you can send letters — translated into Russian (if you don’t know a competent translator, you can use a free online translation service such as Google Translate) — to Ruslan Zinin (and many other Russian political prisoners) via RosUznik, as mentioned above. You can also ask me (firstname.lastname@example.org) for assistance and advice in sending letters.