Russian activist flees to Lithuania

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Russian activist flees to Lithuania

Yuri Gorsky

(VILNIUS) – Yuri Gorsky, an organizer of “Russian Marches”, plans to apply for political asylum in Lithuania after fleeing Russia.

The Russian opposition activist, who calls himself a nationalist, came to Lithuania via Belarus last week and currently has a valid visa.

“I came with a Lithuanian visa. I will take the opportunity to be here as a tourist because I still need to make trips to the European Union. I will apply for asylum in Lithuania as soon as I finish my urgent business there. This will most probably happen in mid or late August,” he told BNS on Monday.

The Russian arrived in Lithuania early on Sunday.

Officials from Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) detained Gorsky in Moscow last Wednesday. The man said that he was suspected of public calls for extremist activity. At a nationalist rally in May, he chanted “Ukraine — Maidan, Russia — Manezhnaya, barricades, tires, fire” and “5.11.17 revolution”.

Gorsky was placed under house arrest by a local court two days later.

The Russian said that his trip to Lithuania had followed a pre-planned route and involved changing cars.

He said that he did not want to be held in political captivity.

A Russian court has reduced by more than a year a suspended sentence handed down to  Yuri Gorsky convicted of inciting hatred and insulting religious believers’ feelings through online videos, including one showing him playing Pokemon Go in a church.

The Sverdlov Regional Court in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg ruled on July 7 that blogger Ruslan Sokolovsky’s 3 1/2 suspended sentence be cut to two years and three months.

The court annulled Sokolovsky’s conviction on a charge of illegally possessing a pen with a concealed video camera.

A district court in Yekaterinburg convicted and sentenced Sokolovsky in November in a case that triggered widespread condemnation from rights activists.

Sokolovsky, 22, was arrested in September after posting a video showing him playing Pokemon Go in a Russian Orthodox church in Yekaterinburg in August during a craze for the game app.

The post on Sokolovsky’s YouTube channel, which had around 300,000 subscribers at the time, followed a warning on state television not to play the game at religious sites.

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