Nizhny Novgorod businessman, rector of the Church of the Flying Macaroni Monster and the head of the local Pastafarian church Mikhail Iosilevich were released from the remand prison, where he spent six months in a criminal case about an “undesirable organization.” On the release of Iosilevich informs his Telegram channel.
Witness in the case German Knyazev said “OVD-Info” that the Moscow District Court in Nizhny Novgorod changed the measure of restraint for Iosilevich. According to Knyazev, Iosilevich must be at home before the trial begins. He suggested that the accused would be given a recognizance not to leave the place.
As noted by OVD-Info, the accused under a non-grave article cannot be kept in custody for more than six months, and Mikhail Iosilevich was in jail since January 31 and the deadline for his arrest came on July 29.
Earlier, the court dismissed Iosilevich’s administrative case on cooperation with an “undesirable organization”, from which his criminal prosecution began. According to Tatyana Usmanova, ex-coordinator of Open Russia, this means that criminal charges against him should be dropped.
The security forces opened a criminal case against Mikhail Iosilevich in October 2020. According to the investigation, he provided a room in the Pastafarian temple (Pastafarianism or the Church of the Flying Macaroni Monster – a parody religion invented in 2005) for an event to train observers in the elections to the local city council “in order to encroach on the foundations of the constitutional order.” Investigators also linked the organized seminars to Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s Open Russia, although the organization did not have a branch in Nizhny Novgorod.
As part of the initiated criminal case, searches were carried out not only at Iosilevich, but also at four civil activists and at the journalist of the local newspaper Koza.Press Irina Slavina, who was given the status of a witness. During the search, which began at 06:00, all equipment and even notebooks in which the journalist made notes during press conferences were seized from her. Slavina said that during the visit of the security forces, she, naked, had to dress under the supervision of an unknown woman. After the search, Irina Slavina committed an act of self-immolation near the building of the local Ministry of Internal Affairs in protest against pressure from the authorities. Before that, she left a note on Facebook: “I ask you to blame the Russian Federation for my death.”
Later became knownthat the investigators confused Nizhny and Veliky Novgorod in the decision to initiate a criminal case, within the framework of which the searches took place.
In February 2021, a court in Rostov-on-Don sentenced activist Anastasia Shevchenko to a four-year suspended sentence with a probationary period of four years for “assisting an undesirable” organization. Her criminal case became the first case in the history of Russia about the activities of an “undesirable” organization. On August 10, the court reduced her suspended sentence to three years in accordance with the amendments made to the Criminal Code. Before the court’s decision, Shevchenko was under house arrest for more than two years.
Former director of Open Russia, Andrei Pivovarov, was arrested in June 2021. Under the article on participation in the activities of an “undesirable organization”, he faces from two to six years in prison. He is in a pre-trial detention center in Krasnodar.