Full name:
Pluzhnikov Andrei


Professional field/official position/biography:

Pluzhnikov Andrei Viktorovich was born on February 7, 1962. By the decree of the President of the Russian Federation of December 22, 1995, he was appointed a judge of the military court of the Vorkuta garrison. By the decree of the President of the Russian Federation of 12/25/2000, he was appointed judge of the Vladimir Garrison Military Court. By the decree of the President of the Russian Federation of February 15, 2010, Pluzhnikov was appointed judge of the Moscow District Military Court (after the reorganization - the 2nd Western District Military Court).

Accused of:

Carrying out political repression using his official position.

On July 6, 2020, as part of the collegium of the 2nd Western District Military Court, Judge Andrei Pluzhnikov recognized journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva guilty and sentenced her to a fine of 500 thousand rubles. Earlier, the Investigative Committee charged her with Article 205.2 Part 2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (public calls for terrorist activities or public justification of terrorism using mass media communications).

The reason for the initiation of criminal prosecution against the journalist of Radio Liberty was her speech on the air of the radio Echo of Moscow in Pskov. During her program A Minute of Enlightenment, Prokopyeva reflected on the reasons for the self-bombing by the seventeen-year-old anarchist Mikhail Zhlobitsky at the FSB office in Arkhangelsk on October 31, 2018. The journalist linked the attack with the socio-political situation in the country, drawing parallels with political terrorism in the Russian Empire and with the actions of the People's Will movement. She also stated that the country has problems with political activism and many years of state pressure on political and civil freedoms has brought Russia into the stage of a repressive state that has nurtured a generation of citizens who are fighting against it.

The next day, the text of the speech was published on the website of the Pskov News Line under the heading Repression for the State. Almost immediately, the speech on both sites, the recording of the radio broadcast, and the text of Prokopyeva were removed at the request of Roskomnadzor (Russian internet and media regulator). On February 5, 19, a criminal case was initiated against Prokopyeva on the justification of terrorism. On July 4, 2019, Prokopyeva was added to the list of extremists and terrorists compiled by Rosfinmonitoring.

According to the version of the investigation, approved by the prosecutor Meleschenya, the text in which Svetlana Prokopyeva criticized state policy and justifies the ideology and practice of terrorism, is an attempt to justify the terrorist act and form a positive attitude towards the terrorist. During the trial, the prosecution relied on an extremely unconvincing evidence base, stretched the facts, attracted dubious witnesses, and openly ignored all the circumstances indicating the journalist's innocence.

Thus, two psychological and linguistic examinations presented by the prosecutor Meleschenya in court as the main evidence recognized the presence of signs of justifying terrorism in the speech. However, the first examination, proving that the journalist had the goal of forming a positive attitude towards the Arkhangelsk terrorist, referred to expressions that were absent in the text. Of the expressions given by the experts in the article, there was only one in the speech: “a repressive state.” The second examination found linguistic and psychological signs of “justifying destructive actions,” but the indictment did not contain the data on which they were. Another examination to which the prosecution referred turned out to be fake. Khakass University, in which the research was allegedly done, denies its relation to it since one of the experts is a freelance employee, the conclusion is provided on a form that does not correspond to the one of the university, the founder of the university, the index, the name of the university and the philological institute are incorrectly indicated.

The only phrase by Prokopyeva, quoted by Meleschenya as proof of justifying the terrorist attack, is not fully cited in the accusation. According to the prosecutor, Prokopyeva stated that what happened was “better than a political scientist's op-ed,” which is not true, because the full phrase sounds like this: “it proves that there are no conditions for political activism in Russia better than a political scientist's op-ed.” The prosecution cited many fragments from Prokopieva's correspondence and articles stored on her laptop as a piece of evidence, which had nothing to do with the text about the explosion at the FSB in Arkhangelsk.

Witnesses who testified in support of the prosecution's version appear dubious. A witness to the prosecution, specialist of the media monitoring group from the Main Radio Frequency Center administration, Stepina, who initially found signs of justifying terrorism in Prokopyeva's article, did not have the appropriate qualifications and experience in conducting such checks. Two secret witnesses, Aleksey Yegorov and Petr Petrov stated that Prokopyeva, in her articles, developed the idea of the need to change the current political regime in the country, including through terror. The latter especially noted that the journalist collected information for foreign media, campaigned for opposition leaders in her texts, showed distrust of the authorities and that her goal was to change the government by “radical mechanisms.” At the same time, the prosecution flatly refused to provide the defense with a video recording of the testimony of secret witnesses for review. Human rights activist Lev Schlosberg expressed the opinion that secret witnesses can be bogus.

An analysis of witness statements showed that they are subjective opinions and assessments, and thus cannot serve as evidence in criminal proceedings. During the criminal proceedings, 8 examinations and several reviews of the examinations were made. At the same time, not a single independent examination/review refuting the conclusions of the previous ones was taken into account by the prosecutor. Considering the above facts, it becomes obvious that there is no proof of Svetlana Prokovyeva's guilt.

The list of examinations made in the course of the trial contained scientific and professionally grounded conclusions proving the innocence of the defendant. However, all independent examinations/reviews/testimonies that completely refute the conclusions of the investigation were ignored by the court. Thus, on June 6, 2020, the court of the Russian Federation, represented by judge Andrei Pluzhnikov, found journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva guilty of committing a crime under Article 205.2. Of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

The Russian and international expert community has no doubts about the fabrication of the case for political reasons. Thus, the Pskov journalist was supported by the Human Rights Council under the President of Russia, the Union of Journalists of Russia, the Trade Union of Journalists and Media Workers, the Association of Journalists and Writers “Free Speech,” the Union of Journalists of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region, the Belarusian Association of Journalists, the European and International Federation of Journalists, International Coalition for Women in Journalism, International Press Institute, Reporters Without Borders, Committee to Protect Journalists, PEN Club, Human Rights Watch, OSCE, Memorial human rights organization, Amnesty International and many public figures. Over 400 Russian journalists expressed their support for Svetlana Prokopyeva. The petition launched in defense of the journalist on Change.org received more than 150,000 signatures, her open letter “Seven years for two pages of text” was republished by more than fifty Russian media.

Links and materials

Дело Светланы Прокопьевой. Приговор

Дело С. Прокопьевой. Статья в Википедии

Свидетели умысла: кто обвиняет Светлану Прокопьеву в оправдании терроризма

Светлана Прокопьева: «Оправдание терроризма — удел психопатов»

Управление судебного департамента по ПО

Ночь до приговора Прокопьевой

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