Support The Moscow Times!

Russia Investigates Woman for 'Extremism' for Barring War Veteran From Cafe

Cafe owner Alyona Polyakevich in the town of Lyubertsy. Social media

Russian authorities are investigating a woman in the Moscow region town of Lyubertsy for kicking out a Ukraine war veteran from the cafe she owns. 

Russia’s Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes, said Wednesday that its chief Alexander Bastrykin had ordered for a criminal case to be opened into “incitement of hatred” after pro-war activists complained about the cafe owner online.

“The woman did not allow participants of the special military operation inside her establishment and posted extremist statements on social media,” the Investigative Committee said in a statement.

According to the independent news website Mediazona, the woman, identified as Alyona Polyakevich, has not yet been named a suspect in the investigation.

“Incitement of hatred” is punishable by up to five years in prison, and those found guilty are added to Russia’s list of “terrorists and extremists,” which authorizes officials to block the designees’ bank accounts without a court order.

Polyakevich was fined 45,000 rubles ($490) on Monday for discrediting” the Russian military over the same incident.

Last week, she wrote on X (formerly Twitter) that she had politely asked a Russian soldier to leave her cafe after he had been loitering and causing disruptions for about an hour.

“There's no f****** reason to behave like a schmuck, to scare customers and the barista,” Polyakevich wrote in another post.

Influential pro-war activists then shared links to Polyakevich’s posts and launched a harassment campaign against her, which ultimately led to the criminal case being opened on Wednesday.

… 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.


Read more