Resident of Saint-Petersburg Aleksandra Barabash said that during the rally against mobilization her head was smashed with a truncheon.


27 September 2022


On 21 September, rallies against “partial mobilization” announced by Vladimir Putin, were held throughout Russia. Law-enforcement officers brutally suppressed the protests. According to OVD-Info, over 1300 people were apprehended, some of them were beaten up. Mediazona talked to Aleksandra Barabash — a resident of Saint-Petersburg, whose head was smashed with a truncheon in the queogh to the police van, and then was told off at the state clinic where she was taken from the police department.  

27-year old resident of Saint-Petersburg Aleksandra Barabash attended a rally against mobilization at the St. Isaac Cathedral at seven in the evening. Special police force offices (OMON) surrounded a group of protesters practically immediately. As Aleksandra recalls, the protesters formed a line, but the law-enforcement officers started to hit their arms with truncheons and snatch them out from the crowd one by one. She was seized from the back by the bag and taken to the police van. The moment of the apprehension was captured in the photo.  

«I was already standing on the steps and waiting for the people to get tampered inside, because the police van was overfilled. And in the back.. I did not understand whether it was the one who was escorting me, or just an OMON officer came up. I heard him saying in my back: “Why don’t you guys sit at home?” — and hit me with a truncheon on the head», —the girl described

Barabash emphasizes that the law-enforcement officer made this blow intentionally. According to her, she turned back and asked the officer why he did that, but he just left. According to the girl, the law-enforcement officer was wearing a body armor, elbow piece and a helmet, his face was covered with a mask.    The girl elaborates that after the blow she did not make the insignia on the uniform of the attacker, but, judging by the video, made by Aleksandra herself, as well as by the witnesses, the participants of the rally were dispersed by the officers of the Department of the Interior and the Rosgvardiya OMON.       

The girl noticed bleeding when she was in the police vehicle. According to her, other apprehended asked the law-enforcement officers to call for an ambulance, but they answered:  “It’s nothing, everything is fine, there is no need to call an ambulance”.  

Barabash was apprehended at about 7.25 p.m. She and other apprehended were delivered to Police Department No.59 only at 20:15. According to her, before that, the law-enforcement officers were moving the apprehended from one police van into another for about an hour, for some reason. Aleksandra had a chance to stay in all four police vans. When the activists were taken to the police department, one of the apprehended attempted to make a photo of Aleksandra’s smashed head, but the police officers started to pull his arms up and demanded to delete the photos, as the resident of Saint-Petersburg recalls. As a result, the ambulance was called for her, and medics insisted on hospitalization. Before the girl was released, the police officers made a photo of her next to the auxanometer, took her fingerprints and made her sign an undertaking to appear.

By ten in the evening, Barabash was taken to the Elizavetinskaya Hospital.   

Aleksandra underwent a CT, which did not show a brain concussion. After CT, the girl went home.   

In the morning of 22 September, Aleksandra applied to a private clinic. There, the stitches were applied to the wound made with a truncheon. «The doctor said that it was a little late, because some hair got inside the wound, and it was swollen and dissection developed further. I felt the bleeding did not stop through the night, and stitching was necessary, I think», — she adds. Barabash was diagnosed with a contused wound of the  occipital region.

The Crew Against Tortures represents the interests of the girl. Lawyer with CAT told Mediazona that, in the opinion of human rights defenders, the law-enforcer who hit the girl, obviously exceeded his authority.  «It will be hard but not impossible to identify him — by cameras», — she added.

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