14 Oct 2011, 20:31
The criminal investigation into Voina’s Palace Revolution action has been officially terminated, according to a letter received from the Investigations Committee earlier this week. The charges against Oleg Vorotnikov for allegedly damaging a police vehicle during the March 31st protests have also been dropped.
Leonid Nikolaev and Oleg Vorotnikov were each charged with two counts of aggravated hooliganism following the upturning of two police cars in St. Petersburg in the fall of 2010. Oleg was later charged with another count of aggravated hooliganism after the incident at the March 31st, 2011 protests in St. Petersburg when he allegedly damaged a police vehicle. The three incidents were classified as “hooliganism motivated by hatred towards a social group” (i.e. the police). However, in an unprecedented turn of events, the experts called on by the Investigations Committee said the police did not fit the definition of a “social group”. In the absence of a hatred motive, the damage to the police vehicles was deemed not significant enough to warrant criminal charges.
Leonid Nikolaev is now free from any criminal charges, and is entitled to receive 300k rubles in bail money back. In addition, he has already announced his intention to sue the Russian state for wrongful persecution.
Oleg Vorotnikov is still facing charges of “assaulting a public official” and “insulting a public official” for allegedly attacking a police officer during the March 31st protests. Because of this, the international arrest warrant against him is still outstanding and his bail money will not be returned. Oleg is currently in hiding to avoid arrest.