Video footage is being shared online of a violinist being pulled out of an orchestral rehearsal in Russia, reportedly as a result of his attendance at an anti-Putin rally. The video, which was taken at an orchestra rehearsal in the town of Cheboksary – a city on the Volga river, about nine hours east of Moscow, and the capital of Chuvashia – shows Andrei Osipov being removed from the rehearsal as his colleagues filmed the arrest.
“He didn’t resist and said he stood against corruption and had participated in the rally,” explained a report published by Ministry of Counterculture, a website founded by playwright and journalist Nikolai Khalezin, co-founder of the Belarus Free Theatre. “Osipov underlined it was his civic stance. The musician’s colleagues tried to explain to the policemen that Osipov was at work and said the Constitution guarantees freedom of expression. The musicians asked the police officers not to break Osipov’s hands.”
According to the report, Osipov is a member of the Chuvash State Symphony Capella and a well-known musician in Cheboksary. His arrest comes after the violinist took part in a rally against corruption in Cheboksary on March 26. Hundreds of protestors across Russia were detained by riot police in the largest anti-government protest in years, as people took to the streets after opposition leader Alexei Navalny (who was detained during the protests) released a video accusing Russian Prime Minister (and former President) Dmitry Medvedev of corruption.
Navalny’s video, which has been viewed over 17 million times on YouTube, alleges that Medvedev has amassed a collection of luxury mansions, yachts and vineyards – allegations the Russian government has dismissed.
According to Ministry of Counterculture, the rally in Cheboksary was attended by about 500 people. “Several activists were detained. Dmitry Semenov, a coordinator of the Open Russia initiative in Chuvashia, says the police had lists with names of several tens of activists who are likely to be detained for protests.”