Opposition Blogger Cleared of Inciting Hatred Against Police

Blogger Dmitri Soloviev. Source: Komsomolskaya PravdaA Russian blogger accused of inciting hatred against the police has been cleared of all charges, reports Grani.ru.

Dmitri Soloviev, a blogger and activist of the Oborona opposition movement, was notified on Monday of the December 31 decision. According to the document sent to the blogger, two groups of investigators found no evidence that any crime had actually been committed.

Soloviev had been charged in August 2008 with inciting hatred against police and federal security agents with a series of posts on LiveJournal.

Investigators had initially claimed that the five posts “instigated social strife” due to their content regarding the police.

The posts, under Soloviev’s username dimon77, included phrases accusing federal security agents of killing Russian children and assertions that the police would not succeed in breaking up the Oborona movement.

Advocates for the blogger maintained that the majority of the posts included material previously published elsewhere on the internet, and, furthermore, represented legitimate criticisms of specific actions of law enforcement officers.

As part of the investigation, Soloviev’s computer and notebook had both been confiscated, preventing him from completing his graduate dissertation.

Oborona leader Oleg Kozlovsky said that the decision to drop the case was “unprecedented in recent Russian history.” He added, however, that the case was very much an exception, as Soloviev’s case was only one of many similar, high-profile lawsuits against Russian bloggers.

In November, blogger Oleg Kozyrev launched a trade union for bloggers, citing the need for an organization to protect the rights and freedoms of the authors of online content.

Numerous Russian bloggers have been arrested and jailed under charges of extremism, inciting hatred, or instigating social discord. Most recently, 22-year old Ivan Peregorodiev was arrested in the southern city of Saratov in December and charged with disseminating false information related to an act of terrorism after he discussed rumors on his blog that victims of swine flu actually had pneumonic plague.