February 28, 2021

Rupression collective statement regarding the article “four went in the forest and only two went out”

Submitted by poster on 02/24/20, missed by the collective initially

(about “the investigation” of the connection between the “network” case and the disappearance and death of two young people in Ryazan oblast)

Meduza presents a version according to which Maxim Ivankin, a defendant
in the case of “Network”, in plain view of Alexei Poltavets participated
in the murder of their acquaintances, Artem Dorofeev and Ekaterina
Levchenko (Degree of Poltavets’es involvement in the murder is not
specified). According to Meduza’s version, the murder was committed at
the direction of Dmitriy Pchelintsev.

We think that the thorough journalistic investigation did not take
place. The published article resembles a raw compilation of opinions.
However, all that does not invalidate our duty to reply. First, we want
to express our attitude towards the article by Meduza and, second, to
tell why we kept silent before.

Rupression collective has been supporting the “Network” case defendants
for more than two years. In the spring of 2019 we learned that Maxim
Ivankin was interrogated at the Penza pre-trial detention center by an
investigator from Investigative Committee, Ryazan oblast. He was
interrogated in relation to the discovery of the body of Ivankin’s
acquaintance Artem Dorofeev and to the disappearance of Ekaterina
Levchenko. After the interrogation, the lawyer claimed that the
investigator had no evidence of Ivankin’s connection to the murder of
Artem. Ivankin made a statement dissociating himself from the murder. We
started to collect information on the events that took place before the
disappearance of Artem and Ekaterina, and ended up with a version of
events similar to that of Meduza. However, we lacked a definitive and
provable picture.

It was very hard to communicate with most of the people who potentially
knew what exactly happened. All that time they were either in a
pre-trial detention center or in other countries. Different people were
communicating with Poltavets and getting different versions of what
happened, neither of which we could verify. At the end, we decided not
to make this information public. That is because the accusation of
murder is a serious concern, and, at the same time, we were not able to
make any definitive statement. Most likely, the journalists who knew
about the suspicion before, but did not publish the material were
roughly on the same page with us.

RUPRESSION collective was shocked when the suspicion of the relation to
murder emerged. Still, we continue the support of the defendants. That
is because of the absence of verifiable information regarding the
relation to the murder for some of the defendants (which is still
relevant now) and our confidence in the noninvolvement of the other
defendants. We sincerely sympathize with friends and family of Ekaterina
Levchenko and Artem Dorofeev.

We rely our actions upon the presumption of trust towards the
defendants. We perceive innocent anyone evidence against who we do not
have. As for those defendants, against who we have such information, the
evidence is sufficient only to doubt their innocence. All the St
Petersburg based defendants – Filinkov, Boyarshinov, and Shishkin and
Shakurskiy and Kuksov from Penza – are for sure not related to the
events that are depicted in the article by Meduza. We do not know
anything about Chernov, Kulkov, and Sagynbaev either knowing about the
events or not. Ivankin and Pchelintsev do face unresolved allegations of
being related to the murder.

We believe there is a need for an efficient investigation of the murder
of Artem Dorofeev and of the disappearance of Ekaterina Levchenko. The
reason that brought the members of RUPRESSION collective together is
still relevant: we believe that the prosecution of the “Network” case
defendants and their verdicts are unjust. We demand full acquittal of
defendants on the allegations of creating and participating in a
terrorist group.

It should be noted that the article by Meduza was published between the
trials in Penza and St Petersburg, and at the peak of solidarity
actions. That became a shock for friends and families of all but one
defendants. To them, we express sympathy and support, irrespective of
which truth will be discovered. Lastly, we ask the media to have a light
hand in dealing with them.



Original Meduza article in Russian:


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