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Luzyanin’s Trial

Since Maxim Luzyanin made an initial guilty plea, his trial was conducted under special processing rules, without scrutinizing the evidence. The defendant is eligible for special processing rules in case of complete admission of guilt. In such cases, the prison term cannot exceed two thirds of the maximum, allowed by law.

The prosecution claimed that Luzyanin had injured five police officers – one had his helmet smashed through with a piece of asphalt, the other four were beaten. Luzyanin has covered one victim’s (private Prokhorov) expenses for the restoration of his chipped tooth enamel.

Luzyanin has identified himself as a masked muscular male seen in the video presented as evidence. The man in the video is violent towards the police at certain moments, but it is practically impossible to prove or disprove the charges, or to count the real number of illegal acts without conducting a quality independent analysis of the video evidence.

Even if Luzyanin had indeed assaulted one or several police officers, that alone does not make him guilty of participating in mass riots. At present time, all other Bolotnaya case defendants (excluding Lebedev), along with their lawyers, the May 6 Committee, and the Presidential Human Rights Commission, agree that only isolated clashes with police took place on Bolotnaya Square, and that these events cannot be qualified as mass riots.

Still, all the damages inflicted, according to prosecution, by protesters at Bolotnaya Square were included in Luzyanin’s case: the loss of 20 helmets, 14 bulletproof vests, 29 batons and other anti-riot gear by Moscow police, 28 million roubles worth of damage to square asphalt (est. $850,000) and to portable toilets (73 thousand roubles or $2,200). By merely being present at the Bolotnaya Square, Luzyanin became responsible for the entirety of the damage, and hence for the mass riots themselves.

Despite the guilty plea, positive references, and reaching a settlement with the victims, the sentence Luzyanin received was neither suspended nor short. “If only he knew the outcome, he would have never pleaded guilty. Let this be a lesson to others: this is what you get if you cooperate with the investigation” – Luzyanin’s friends and relatives were reportedly saying after the trial.

Since the case was heard under special processing rules (the trial only included the sentencing phase, and charges were not contested), the result cannot be used as precedent in trials of other defendants. Still the verdict was already appended to Mikhail Kosenko’s case materials. He is charged with assaulting private Kazmin together with Luzyanin. It remains to be seen if Luzyanin’s case will be illegally used to bolster the argument that mass riots took place (based on Luzyanin’s admission). The possibility certainly exists.

1 comment

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