3 Russian Soccer Fans Sentenced to Prison for Brawl in France; 20 Deported

June 17, 2016
Aleksandr Shprygin, head of the All-Russian Union of Football Supporters, with President Vladimir Putin. He was among those deported from France for instigating violence during Euro 2016. Photo by Aleksey Nikolsky

LIVE UPDATES: A court in Marseilles has sentenced from one to two years three Russian soccer fans who were part of a Russian group that instigated violent clashes during Europe 2016.

Welcome to our column, Russia Update, where we will be closely following day-to-day developments in Russia, including the Russian government’s foreign and domestic policies.

The previous issue is here.

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6 Russian Soccer Fans Detained in Cologne for Beating Spanish Tourists

German police in the city of Cologne detained 6 Russian soccer fans for instigating a fight while intoxicated on the square near the train station by the cathedral, Novaya Gazeta reported.
Police said the Russian fans had traveled by train from Brussels to Cologne, from where they intended to fly back to Russia. 
The Russians grew angry at two Spanish tourists, accompanied by a German woman, who were distributing leaflets in support of a Spanish leftist organization. An argument grew into a fistfight in which the Russians broken a Spaniard’s nose, and the German woman and other Spaniard were lightly injured.
Police reacted swiftly, as this square is the exact same location as the mass disorders on New Year’s Eve last year when hundreds of women were subjected to sexual assaults or robbed. Surveillance cameras have now been installed. 
Five Russians were detained at the scene and a sixth tried to flee to the airport but the German police caught him. All are aged 26-30, and were found to have tickets to the games of Russia versus England in Marseilles, and Russia versus Slovakia in Lille. Face masks, quartz gloves and spetsnaz helmets were also discovered in their luggage.

German authorities are now checking with their French counterparts to see if any of the Russians detained in Germany were involved in the brawl in Marseilles. They are determining whether the Russians should be released pending trial.

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick 

Court Orders Arrest for Tyumen Blogger Over Post on LiveJournal
Novaya Gazeta reports that the Tyumen Central District Court in Western Siberia ordered the arrest of blogger Aleksei Kungurov, making his pre-trial restriction more severe as he had originally been released after signing a pledge not to leave town.
The judge said Kungurov “might influence witnesses” or “go into hiding” as he had already twice flown to Moscow to take part in a conference “without permission” although he said he had verbally notified investigators of his trips.
Kungurov is accused of “justifying the Islamic State, a terrorist organization banned in Russia.” He denies the charge and says there is nothing in his writings that qualifies as such. 
Instead, he was detained the day after writing that Russia should “admit its guilt for the perishing of the Malaysian Boeing” (MH17) and “Pay compensation to the families of those killed.”
Kungurov is among the founders of January 25, a group of ultranationalists including Col. Igor Strelkov, former commander of the forces of the self-declared “Donetsk People’s Republic,” Eduard Limonov of the National Bolshevik party and Stepan Sulakshin, a Tomsk politician and former deputy and presidential commission in Tomsk Region who is now the director of the Center for Scientific Political Thought and Ideology.

Several other Russians have been arrested or sentenced for their social media posts, AP reported last month. Andrei Bubeyev, an electrician from Tver who enjoyed online political debates was first sentenced to one year in prison for “inciting hatred of Russians” for posting a picture of a toothpaste tube with the phrase “Squeeze Russia out of yourself!”  

Later, his sentence was extended by another year and three months with charges of “acts of extremism” and “actions undermining Russia’s territorial integrity” because he published material about the Ukrainian Azov volunteer battalion and a video describing Russia as a “fascist aggressor” and showing Russian tanks purportedly crossing into Ukraine.  A local TV show said that social media users like Bubeyev were supporting Ukrainian troops and were “ready to back a coup in Russia and take up arms and kill people as the Nazis did.”

Novaya Gazeta also reported that Vadim Tyumentsev, a video blogger was sentenced to 5 years in a standard-regimen labor colony for a 3-minute video. Some years ago, he had founded an organization that opposed the draft and distributed leaflets against Russia’s invasion of Georgia, then later opposed the war in Ukraine and was critical of the “people’s republics” there. He also advocated the federalization of Siberia, which Russian authorities have viewed as “separatism.” A number of his videos such as “What are we fighting for, brother Slavs?” are still on YouTube.

Tyumentsev says in the video:

“Since Ukraine could not manage to nationalize the Soviet residents of Ukraine in 23 years, Putin is trying to fascitize them into Russians along with the territories where they reside.”

As we reported last month, Maksim Kormelitsky from Novosibirsk, was sentenced to 1.3 years after Russian Orthodox believers filed a complaint about his post on VKontakte that they said “insulted” religious people.

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick 

Sky News Reports Russian Athletes Will Remain Banned From Rio Olympics

Sky News reports, citing sources at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) that the ban imposed on Russian athletes due to widespread doping will not be lifted ahead of the Rio Olympics.

Sky’s Paul Kelso reports:

This would mean that Russia will not compete in this year’s Olympic Games.

Here is a BBC report from earlier today giving some background on today’s decision:

Set as default press image

IAAF decision on Russia's inclusion at Rio – BBC News

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is to decide whether Russia has reformed enough for an athletics ban for doping to be lifted.

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Jun 17, 2016 13:03 (GMT)

— Pierre Vaux
3 Russian Soccer Fans Sentenced to Prison for Brawl in France; 20 Deported
A court in Marseilles has sentenced from one to two years three Russian soccer fans who were part of a Russian group that instigated violent clashes at a soccer match on June 11 in the Euro 2016 championship, Current Time TV reported, citing Agence France-Presse.
A British soccer fan was hospitalized and declared brain-dead from injuries sustained in the fight and others were hurt as well. 
One of the three sentenced, Aleksei Yerunov, the head of the department of fans at Moscow’s Lokomotiv team, was handed two years, Interfax reported. Sergei Gorbachev received 1.5 years and Nikolai Morozov one year of prison. All of them were in a bus that was stopped June 14 by police in Cannes, when a total of 43 Russians were detained. 
Five English fans were also detained for throwing bottles at police and a sixth was handed a prison term.
Yesterday, June 16, 20 Russian fans were ordered to be deported from France as “threats to national security,” the Telegraph reported.
Aleksandr Shprygin, leader of the All-Russian Football Supporters Union, was among those ordered to leave France. They have been taken to a deportation center and are expected to be expelled within the next five days.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the detention of the fans “absolutely unacceptable”.
Russia was given a suspended disqualificaiton warning by the United European Association of Football (Uaef) over the brawls.

The British man was erroneously reported as deceased by Russian media; in fact he was in a coma and declared brain-dead but is still alive.

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick