Vladimir Sergeev and Anton Zhuchkov, residents of the city of Omsk in Siberia, have been convicted in Moscow for “preparing a terrorist attack.” The pair was accused of planning to set fire to empty police vans in Moscow’s Pushkin Square during an anti-war rally in 2022. Zhuchkov and Sergeev received prison terms of 10 and 8 years respectively.
The men were detained on March 6, 2022, on their way to a protest against Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Sergeev was found in possession of a bottle of kerosene, a gas cylinder, and brass knuckles. During their arrest, Zhuchkov and Sergeev took lethal doses of methadone, and were taken to an emergency care facility, where they spent almost a week in a coma. The men were both sent to a pre-trial detention center following their discharge from the hospital.
Sergeev was then interrogated by the FSB without a lawyer present. Following the interrogation, he confessed that he and Zhuchkov planned to set fire to police vans at the protest. However, his lawyer later stated that this testimony was given under duress.
According to Zhuchkov's testimony, he did not intend to harm anyone but himself. He was going to take his own life, to avoid “witnessing what was happening in the world.” His decision was also influenced by his fear of nuclear war and the fear that “young people would live in poverty.”
In his last statement, Zhuchkov reiterated that he was not aware and did not intend to set fire to the police vans, nor did he sell methadone. Sergeev stated that he did not regret his actions.
As a result, Zhuchkov and Sergeev were convicted for “preparing a terrorist attack.” Sergeev will spend three years in jail, and the rest of the term in a maximum-security penal colony. In addition to the terrorism charge, Zhuchkov was also found guilty of the “sale of narcotic substances.” He also received a three-year prison sentence, which will be followed by seven years in a penal colony.
On January 31, 2023, a Russian court issued the country’s first conviction for arson at a military registration and enlistment office. The action was carried out on May 4, 2022 in Nizhnevartovsk by Vladislav Borisenko and Vasily Gavrilishen. Borisenko was sentenced to 12 years in prison for carrying out a “terrorist attack.”