Alice Femina, a trans woman and a citizen of Kazakhstan who has lived in Moscow for over 15 years, found herself serving a 15-day stint in Russia’s Sakharov special detention center for shouting “Glory to Ukraine,” according to a report by Mediazona.
Alice told Mediazona that the incident occurred during her birthday celebration in a Moscow club at the end of May – she had paid a deposit in advance and ordered a table to mark the occasion. According to Femina, during the night, she would go outside to see off her friends who were going home and would go out for a cigarette with everyone else from time to time. After one such occasion, the club’s security guard refused to let her back in, calling her a “man in a skirt” and pushing her away.
Alice asked her friend to bring her bag, which contained her passport, and emotionally shouted “Glory to Ukraine” (“Slava Ukraini”) [a Ukrainian national salute, known as a symbol of Ukrainian independence and resistance to foreign aggression – The Insider].
“Of course, it all... made me nervous. This has already happened in Moscow clubs. I can't say that I go out often, but these things have happened. Anyway, my girlfriend said to me: ‘Forget it, okay, let's go.’ And I'm like, ‘F*ck you all!’ So I started shouting ‘Glory to Ukraine!’ Those were my feelings, I was expressing them that way. There were so many people there, about 50 people. Someone wanted to attack me, then a security guard also wanted to attack me – I started to fight back, then the guards pinned me to the wall and called the police.”
Alice was handcuffed in a police vehicle, and she and her friend were brought to Moscow’s Tverskoy District Police Department in Moscow. Her friend was soon released without a protocol – Alice, however, was kept in custody. The abuse began the following day.
“The attitude to me [at the police station], of course, was... horrible. Constantly transphobic, insulting, they constantly called me 'tranny,' incomprehensible pronouns, they addressed me in the neutral gender. The next day they took me for an alcohol test – I had a zero alcohol reading. But there were all these policemen standing there, laughing, saying that I was a ‘he’. I said to them, ‘Please treat me like a woman.’ They replied: ‘Ha-ha, tranny.’
On Monday morning, a policeman came over to me. He said, ‘Give me your old name, your last name.’ I said that I'm not going to say anything. Here's my passport, I told them – this is my real name and surname. He left. In five or ten minutes, the door opens, and they take me out into the hall. I don't know what they call it – the reception area, you know, the common room. There are policemen there. One’s sitting in the waiting room, looking at me from the window. I'm standing at the door, there are two men to my left. There's a table with a woman sitting behind it – [she was] very tough. She starts yelling at me: ‘What, bitch, tell me, who are you? Give us your name! We can see who you are!.’ I said, ‘Here's my name [in my passport], I won't say anything else.’”
After Femina’s reply, the policewoman demanded that Alice undress in front of everyone, refusing to do it in private, adding – ‘We'll see who you are - a man or a woman.’ Femina soon complied, after being coerced. The woman was examined in front of all the men present, and forced to spin around multiple times. One of the police officers said: “Write it down: no male sexual characteristics detected.” The policewoman continued insulting the woman and demanding to state her deadname [a name she used prior to transitioning, such as her birth name – The Insider] and finally forced her to say it out loud.
“She keeps yelling – come on, she says, give me your name. I said, 'I won't.' And she goes: ‘So, I’ll put it this way, for your slogans you'll head over to Lubyanka and the FSB, they'll quickly crack you. They'll put you in a freight train and you'll go to Ukraine, to the front line. You'll serving our men there, WOMAN.”
The police then took Alice's phone, made her hand over her password, read her correspondence – including her intimate messages – and looked for evidence of her support for Ukraine. An officer from the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ Center “E” [a unit tasked with the suppression of extremism within Russia – The Insider] asked about Alice's surgery and whether she slept with men. In the official report, police wrote that Femina kicked and scratched when she was arrested, running away from the police officers while shouting “Glory to Ukraine.” Femina claimed the statements were false, but the judge refused to call witnesses, saying that she had no reason not to trust the police.
Femina was then sentenced to 15 days behind bars for insubordination along with a 50,000 rouble (close to $600) fine for “discrediting” Russia’s army. The Moscow City Court left the decision of the Tverskoy Court unchanged in response to her appeal.
After Femina was released from the detention center, she received a notice from her manager saying she was fired from her job, and discovered that numerous media outlets had written about the case – often in a negative way. Mash was the first to report the incident – a couple of hours following the interrogation that forced Alice to undress at Tverskaya Police Station, the Telegram channel published all her details, including her deadname.