«The officer brought a poster «No to war!» and claimed that I purportedly stood with that poster near the police station.» For the past two years, an attorney from St. Petersburg has been trying to hold policemen accountable for threats.


18 April 2024


In March 2022, two attorneys, Sergey Podolskiy and Aleksey Kalugin, arrived at the police station to legally aid a young woman who had been arrested for participating in an anti-war public event. As Sergey indicates, at first, the police didn’t want to let them in, then Mr. Kalugin was handcuffed, and Sergey was threatened with a crime report for participating in a protest and using violence against police officers.

At 5 a.m. of 2 March 2022, two attorneys, Sergey Podolskiy and Aleksey Kalugin, tried to get into the police station no. 31 of St. Petersburg to meet with a young woman who had been arrested for participating in an anti-war public event. The gate that surrounded the police station was closed, so they started calling the intercom and filming what was happening on the phone camera. Then colonel Andrey Kirichenko came out of the building and, as can be seen on the footage, asked them to stop filming, and then knocked the phone out of the hands of Mr. Kalugin.

«Kirichenko grabbed Aleksey by the arm and began to shake him from side to side, pressed his face to the gate, and started handcuffing him

Mr. Kalugin was taken to a detention cell; then, according to Sergey Podolskiy, Kirichenko grabbed Sergey by the arms, pressed his face against the railing of a metal fence and began to pull out his phone, attorney’s ID and warrant from his pockets. Sergey indicates that subsequently, he was taken to the police station and sat on a bench in the room for working with detainees. The official video footage, which is included in the case file, shows three police officers standing opposite Mr. Podolskiy. As Sergey claims, Mr. Kirichenko began to threaten him.

Mr. Podolskiy recollects the events of that day: Kirichenko said that I had attacked a police officer, and then asked his colleague: «Bring some f***ing sort of a poster, like ‘Peace to War’ or something». So, that policeman brought a poster with the inscription ‘No to war!’. Kirichenko said: «You have stood with this poster at the police station,» and I replied that I hadn’t stood with any poster at all.

Sergey underlines that after these threats, he was taken to Kirichenko’s office. The policeman showed him live footage from the cell where his client was (the young woman was put in the premises for arrested persons), saying that everything was fine with her. Podolskiy’s documents were returned and Mr. Kalugin was also brought to the same office. He was forced to delete the video from his phone, which he had filmed at the entrance. He later restored this video.

The attorneys filed a crime report against the police officers with the Investigative Committee. Subsequently, the relevant investigators refused to open a criminal case five times. Andrey Kirichenko still continues to be the head of the police station no. 31.

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