Fresh criminal charges brought against erstwhile Soviet dissident

Alexander Skobov. Photo: Dmitry Tsyganov / Novaya Gazeta Europe

Alexander Skobov. Photo: Dmitry Tsyganov / Novaya Gazeta Europe

The wife of Russian dissident Alexander Skobov has said that a fresh criminal case for ”participation in a terrorist community“ has been opened against her husband, who is currently in pretrial detention on charges of “justification of terrorism”.

Olga Shcheglova described in a Facebook post how she found out about the additional charge on Tuesday when she visited her husband in a detention centre in the Russian Arctic where he has been held since late April.

Investigators in the Komi republic have charged Skobov with “justifying terrorism” in addition to his pre-existing “participation in a terrorist community” charge, Shcheglova said, adding that both charges related to his participation in the Free Russia Forum, a pro-democracy platform that has been named an “undesirable organisation” in Russia.

On 21 May, Skobov is due to undergo psychiatric evaluation at a hospital in Komi, despite his stated refusal to cooperate with doctors.

Skobov is a well known Soviet dissident who was part of the New Leftists opposition movement in the late 1970s. He was forced to spend two three-year stints in a psychiatric hospital, a common fate for political dissidents at the time, for publishing the anti-government magazine Perspectives and for participating in protest actions.

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