The criminal case against prominent Russian writer Dmitry Bykov for his involvement with an unnamed “undesirable” organisation was revealed on Thursday to be related to a video he made for Novaya Gazeta Europe.
Bykov himself informed Novaya Gazeta Europe, which was deemed an “undesirable organisation” by the Russian government in July, about the publication’s involvement in the case.
“Undesirable” organisations cannot legally exist in Russia and must dissolve themselves, while any Russian citizen who cooperates with an “undesirable” organisation can be fined up to 15,000 rubles (€150) for a first offence, with repeated offences potentially leading to jail time.
The video at the centre of the case dates from 20 September and features Bykov in conversation with fellow “foreign agent” and veteran Russian rock star Boris Grebenshchikov discussing Grebenshchikov’s latest album and future plans.
On Thursday, the first fine was issued for giving a comment to a media outlet with the “undesirable” classification when a court in Buryatia fined activist Nadezhda Nizovkina 5,000 rubles (€50) after she was found to have given an interview to independent Russian broadcaster Dozhd, Mediazona reported.
Bykov has already been fined twice in the past for his failure to state his “foreign agent” status at the beginning of all his publications and online posts, a legal requirement for anyone given the status in Russia.