Opposition Activists Seek Asylum in Ukraine
A husband and wife pair of opposition activists suspected of attacking riot police at an opposition rally in May have fled to Ukraine and are seeking political asylum, Interfax reported Monday.
Other Russia activist Alexei Devyatkin and journalist Jenny Curpen are afraid of being arrested in an ongoing police investigation into violence at the "March of Millions," even though they are innocent, an Other Russia spokesperson told Interfax.
The two have repeatedly been summoned for questioning, though they weren't at Bolotnaya Ploshchad during the May 6 rally when clashes broke out between demonstrators and riot police, the spokesperson said.
Devyatkin and Curpen are afraid of sharing the fate of Alexander Kamensky, an Other Russia activist who was detained at Ploshchad Revolyutsii the day of the rally and is currently facing criminal charges, Curpen said, according to Dmitry Kolbasin of Agora, an NGO that provides legal advice.
Ploshchad Revolyutsii is about a 20-minute walk from Bolotnaya. Devyatkin and Curpen were detained that day on Tverskaya Ulitsa, which is comparably far from the rally site.
"We will go through the entire asylum procedure. That way, we'll be able to apply for asylum in another country — Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, the United States — should we fail in Ukraine," Curpen said via Kolbasin, adding that Ukraine rarely grants political asylum.
The pair is currently receiving assistance from the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which is affiliated with the UN Refugee Agency.
They are not the first would-be political refugees to emerge from the May 6 melee and subsequent police crackdown. Solidarity's Anastasia Rybachenko fled the country — she says she plans to return — and Other Russia's Alexander Dolmatov has applied for asylum in the Netherlands.