Opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s regional office in the Siberian city of Irkutsk has published an excerpt from a conversation between the dean of the biotechnology department of the Irkutsk State Agricultural University and a student activist, Eugenia Ivanchenko.
In photos posted by Ivanchenko on social media, he is seen during last month’s protests against the arrest of Alexei Navalny. He was arrested on January 17 after Navalny returned from Germany after undergoing treatment. It is not yet clear when Ivanchenko’s conversation with the dean, Olga Ilina, took place.
It turned out that in the recording, which was published on February 18, the voice belongs to Ilina. It is clear from the conversation that he justifies the poisoning of Navalny with chemical weapons, because, according to him, the opposition is “destabilizing” Russia.
“Chemical weapons are a state policy of containment,” said Ilina. “You know how we are in the world: there was one-pole, two-pole, three-pole. We must defend ourselves as a state. We will create any kind of weapon to be able to resist. “Those like Navalny are against it,” said the dean of the Faculty of Biotechnology.
Navalny became ill in August last year when he was flying from Tomsk to Moscow. The plane was landed in Omsk, and after he was treated at a local hospital, an opposition politician in a coma was flown to Germany by his relatives for treatment. Navalny spent several weeks there. German specialists determined that he had been poisoned with chemical weapons of the “Novichok” group. Investigative team Bellingcat linked Navalny poisoning to a group of FSB officers. Navalny himself claims that his poisoning was carried out on the orders of President Vladimir Putin personally.
The Russian government denies the allegations. At the same time, the authorities, despite the existence of evidence, refuse to initiate and investigate a criminal case.
When Ivanchenko challenged the dean that “the situation in Russia is already unstable,” Ilina continued his indoctrination.
“I do not agree with you. Is stable. But people like Navalny are destabilizing it. And the state is doing the right thing by not giving anyone the right to destabilize it. Look at what happened to Ukraine. “
The dean then echoed the Kremlin’s unsubstantiated allegations that the United States was behind mass protests in Ukraine that ousted Russian President Viktor Yanukovych.
“And what is happening in Belarus now?” Says Ilina, adding that “the same song is here.”
It is not known whether Ivanchenko was punished for his political activism.
Irkutsk Agricultural University declined to comment to Radio Liberty. Irkutsk’s local website reported that he, too, declined to comment and was told that Ilina was “on vacation.”
Authorities opposed the protest with all available police forces, special services and the army. “Authorities in riot gear stormed a rally on Friday, removing hundreds of protesters by truck. In Irkutsk, at least 74 people were convicted of administrative offenses – participating in an unsanctioned demonstration or disobeying law enforcement instructions.
As many of its participants say after these speeches, they have been under attack ever since. Navalny pro-activist Ruslan Ablyakimov was attacked and severely beaten by unknown individuals in Dagestan on February 20.
In Krasnodar, on February 21, local authorities launched an administrative lawsuit against Navalny’s supporter, Anastasia Panchenko, for “propaganda of unconventional sexual relations.” He reportedly posted photos of same-sex couples kissing each other during a Feb. 14 rally in support of Navalny.
On February 19, in Novosibirsk, an unknown person threw a “Molotov cocktail” at a car belonging to a supporter of Navalny.
Many companies whose managers took part in the protests were removed from the target by the Department of Economic Security of the Ministry of Interior for inspections.