Russia’s Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case against a 22-year-old Moscow resident after video footage emerged showing her burning her Russian passport outside a nightclub in the western Russian city of Bryansk during New Year’s Eve festivities.
The detained woman was identified by Telegram channel Baza as blogger Yevgenia Hoffman. Multiple onlookers crowded around and filmed her burning her passport and posted the video online.
Commenters on the video suggested that Hoffman burned her passport to show support for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The head of the Safe Internet League, a powerful group that campaigns for online censorship, Yekaterina Mizulina, said she would lodge a complaint with the police, who subsequently arrested Hoffman.
Hoffman claimed she was intoxicated when she burned the passport, and that she did it “for fun”, not to support Ukraine, stressing that her passport had expired and that she had already received a new one.
In June, singer Eduard Charlotte posted a video of himself burning his Russian passport, stating that he wanted to go to Ukraine and give concerts there. He was detained for petty hooliganism in November and now faces more serious criminal charges for “rehabilitating Nazism” and “insulting the feelings of believers.”