9 November 2016
The police in Syktyvkar received a call on the evening of 8th November that there was an explosive device in the Avalon hotel where Grigory Pasko, leader of the international NGO ‘Foundation for the Support of Investigative Journalists’, was holding a seminar. The Internet-Journal “7x7”, which received the news from members of the seminar, had it confirmed by the Komi police department.
About an hour after Grigory Pasko had started his lecture, the hotel manager asked him to vacate the auditorium. She said that an anonymous person had rung the police and said that there was a bomb in the hotel, and the police had already arrived. A few minutes later Pasko spoke with a member of the administration of the Komi Republic who explained that the leader of the Republic’s administration had received an anonymous letter which stated that ‘Pasko intends to blow up Komi’, and he suggested that this type of provocation might continue.
Ten minutes later the alarms system went into action, and the seminar participants were advised to leave the building. By this time there were about ten police officers in the hotel reception, and four cars outside the building.
On the eve of Pasko’s arrival in Syktyvkar, there were references to the journalist’s visit in government publications with the headings ‘The money of Czech millionaires is going to be handed out in Syktyvkar’ and ‘Syktyvkar bloggers will be lured into “the School of Traitors”’. The two items were identical in content and copied an anonymous blog in LiveJournal.com which, judging by its registration, was created on the day of publication and consisted of a single item, i.e., that relating to Pasko.
At the end of September 2016 when Pasko arrived in Barnaul, also to hold a seminar, he was assaulted.
In 1997 Grigory Pasko was accused of treason and, after a year and a half, in a prison colony, was released on parole. In 1999 he was recognized as a prisoner of conscience by the human rights organization Amnesty International.
Translated by Mary McAuley
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