So, do you recall Sergei Mokhnatkin?
As I understand it, Mokhnatkin was a pizza delivery man and was walking through Triumphalnaya Square not realizing even that a rally was going on there. Then he saw that the cops were dragging a middle-aged woman along the road and shouted at them: “What do you think you are doing?”. This was witnessed by a number of people.
He got his own reward for shouting: was beaten up and taken off to the police station together with 60 genuine oppositionists. Mokhnatkin wrote a formal statement in which he told how he had been beaten up and he asked the authorities to sort out his case. He was then allowed to go.
After a little while he was summoned by an investigator, Petrachenko, allegedly in order that he could identify those who had beaten him. Mokhnatkin, happy in the thought that justice would triumph, went along – and was immediately arrested. In court he was accused of breaking some police officer’s (named Moiseyev) nose and was sentenced to two and a half years. Mind you, the prosecutor had asked for five. No witness was allowed into the court and, as Mokhnatkin could not afford a lawyer, he was given state defence.
After this, Mokhnatkin, a very ordinary Russian, went wild. In prison he refused to be photographed or to fill in any forms so he was sent to a solitary cell. There he went on a hunger strike. In the penal colony he was overwhelmed with various penalties so that he should not get early release or parole. Others receive 2,100 roubles for their work, while he gets only 500. He is not allowed parcels from home and any legal literature that is passed on by lawyers or human rights activists is confiscated. And so on.
A day or so ago I noticed that there was a letter from him.
“The situation here has changed.
I was on a hunger strike from March 8th to the 27th. On the 11th I was taken to the isolation prison (SHIZO) and then into the security prison within the security prison (PKT). I was not even allowed to stock up on food.
I have not been told anything, not even about the conditions in which I shall be kept and I am the only one in the whole penal colony (perhaps the whole of Russia) who has been put into a solitary cell and is being kept under video surveillance. But I’ve been told that I am allowed to buy goods only for 500 roubles a month, and there is not enough for tobacco or any printed matter, I am allowed only one parcel every half a year but I have been sent here for four months, though for no reason at all. Not allowed any visitors either.
I am supposed to have a fountain pen, paper and envelopes but I doubt if I will get them as this colony is a poor one and there is a deficit on those goods. So send me letters with paper and envelopes.
Not allowed any parcels and the only visitor I am allowed is the lawyer. Basically everything has been banned. The video is opposite the lavatory, (obviously the most criminal place), there has been nothing like this before and all the zeks are enthralled.”
Mokhnatkin’s address: 172011, Тверская обл. г. Торжок, ул. Старицкая, д. 79, ФБУ ИК №4, отряд 4”