“Of course my case was political. Especially after our fight for Shiyes”. Activist spent 2,5 years in prison for Rammstein music video.
Borovikov was accused of “spreading pornography” for publishing music video “Pussy” by the German band Rammstein on his social media page.
The Barents Observer spoke with Andrei Borovikov today right after his release:
How do you feel now being free?
I feel like I’m drunk without wine. I feel whole spectrum of feelings. I think I´ll calm down only in few days. But may be even this evening I will get used to the thought that I’m out of the prison barrack.
Do you consider your case political?
Of course! How can you not consider the 2 years in prison for a Rammstein music video not a politically motivated case? 250 thousand VKontakte social network users did exactly the same (posted the exact same video). But it was only me who went to the jail for that. Of course it´s politically motivated case. Especially if you take into account our fight for Shiyes (series of protests against the construction of landfills and waste incinerators in Arkhangelsk region) and my political views.
Are you shocked by how Russia has changed since your imprisonment in 2021?
To say the least! When I went to prison in 2021, back then I thought that Russia was a full dictatorship. But what’s happening now, in 2023… I couldn’t even imagine something like this in 2021. I only could imagine something like this as a plot for a fiction book about some kind of “alternative Russia” fantasies. But now, there is the “Special Military Operation” (official Russian name for the war in Ukraine), mobilisation, all those losses.. And especially what’s going on in the heads of our Russian fellow citizens! What sort of views they have now, what kind of opinions, how much hatred some of our citizens express… I couldn’t even imagine something like this back then.
Are you going to continue your activism now?
I can’t answer this question now. I don’t want to lie. I will think about it and let’s see if it’s possible to live in Russia in 2023 and still remain a person faithful to your views.
How were you treated in the prison?
I had friends there, but also some conflicts. It was a brutal manly environment. Nothing extraordinary, no tortures or something like that.
Borovikov´s case was opened after a man from Arkhangelsk named Alexander Durynin complained about Borovikovs Rammstein video post to the Russian anti-extremist police. Durynin, who back then pretended to be just a volunteer in the Navalny Arkhangelsk headquarters (now recognised as extremist organisation by the Russian law), turned out to be a police informer, as activists realised.
Before this “spread of pornography” case, Borovikov was also sentenced to 400 hours of corrective labor for allegedly “violating rules of protesting” during the protests in Shiyes, where thousands of protesters demanded to stop the construction of landfills in the Arkhangelsk region.
In 2020 Amnesty International made the statement that the case against Borovokov was politically motivated: “Andrei Borovikov - is a civil and political activist, who is fighting for public interest on different issues. His opinion often differs from that of the authorities and his critical opinion is not liked by some of them”, - The Amnesty International stated.
In June 2021 everything that has any connection with now imprisoned Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny Russian authorities labelled as “extremist” and “foreign agent”: Navalny´s headquarters, Navalny Anti-Corruption Foundation and also Civil Rights Foundation. Police raids have been conducted all over Russia and many of the Navalny headquarters coordinators were given prison terms.