Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

Activist ‘Tricked’ Into Leaving Georgia Moved to Central Russian Detention Center

Rafail Shepelev. Social media

A left-wing activist who was “tricked” by Russian security services into leaving Georgia has turned up at a pre-trial detention facility in central Russia, the human rights organization Perviy Otdel reported Tuesday.

Rafail Shepelev went missing in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi on Oct. 12 and was found a month later inside a detention center in southern Russia on unspecified criminal charges.

“Shepelev was the victim of a provocation by Russian law enforcement,” Perviy Otdel said.

According to the organization, Russian security services “tricked” Shepelev, who had been living in exile for the past two years, into entering the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia, from which he was taken to Russia and charged with terrorism.

Perviy Otdel said that last week Shepelev was taken to a pre-trial detention center in Nizhny Tagil, located in central Russia’s Sverdlovsk region, following stops in seven other Russian cities over the past 45 days.

The activist faces up to 20 years in prison on charges of participating in the activities of a terrorist organization and up to seven years for justifying terrorism, according to the organization.

Shepelev was identified as a member of Artpodgotovka (Russian for “artillery preparation”), a left-wing ultranationalist opposition group spearheaded by exiled video blogger Vyacheslav Maltsev. 

Russian authorities banned Artpodgotovka as an extremist organization in 2017 after Maltsev staged an anti-government rally on the centenary of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. 

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more