Russian Libertarians Detained, Apparently on Suspicion of Being Part of Feared Anti-Putin Revolution
Over two dozen attendees at the "Adam Smith Forum," a libertarian conference over the weekend in Russia, were arrested by authorities, according to a report from the Freedom Today Network site (an Irish site for millennial libertarians).
The UK Telegraph contextualized the arrests as part of a wider crackdown, apparently triggered by fears of "Vyacheslav Maltsev, a nationalist YouTube blogger and former member of the Saratov regional parliament" who "has long declared that a revolution against Vladimir Putin would start on November 5 2017."
The Telegraph says that the Adam Smith Forum members were among "at least 376 people [who] had been detained in Moscow and 36 in other cities."
From the Freedom Today report:
when a group of guests and speakers were going on a lunch break they were brutally searched, arrested and taken to the police station….Some of the detainees were not released until late at night, others are still kept under arrest; some were accused of participating in an unauthorised rally and are now serving 15 days in jail.
From a Facebook report by one of the detained, Mikhail Svetov:
After spending several hours in the crammed police bus we were brought to the station and informed that we will be questioned as witnesses in relation to the criminal investigation of terrorism and inciting riots.
The way police investigation works in Russia, witnesses are very quickly made suspects in political cases like this. Hence why we are on high alert. Some of us were release after 10 hours of questioning [and others] were just released without charge after 59 hours of detention. No explanation as to why they were detained was given either, but at least they were finally let go…
And details on the wider picture from the Telegraph report:
On Sunday afternoon, riot police had begun searching people near the Kremlin and putting many of them into police vans, although none of them were shouting slogans or holding signs. State news agency TASS reported that authorities had confiscated guns, knives, brass knuckles and clubs from some of those detained.
Photographs and video shared on social media showed that many of those arrested were teenagers and 20-somethings. One was seen playing Pokemon Go in a police van.
A video report (in Russian language) with some video of Adam Smith Forum attendees being taken in: