Attack at the Sakharov Center in Moscow
On May 1, 2018 Cossacks, a few activists from the so-called Lugansk People’s Republic and members of the nationalist SERB movement attempted to break into the Sakharov Center in Moscow, where the art festival Muse of the Unruly was underway. A brawl ensued at the entrance to the building.
On May 1, 2018 in Moscow, several dozen people attempted to force entry into Moscow’s Sakharov Center, setting off a row in the process. Among the assailants where individuals in Cossack dress, activists from the so-called Lugansk People’s Republic, several members of the Donbass Volunteers’ Association, members of the 17th Wagon Innovative Socio-Political Totalitarian Elite (IOPTE 17 Vagon), and SERB members. Notable individual participants included Gosha Tarasevich (real name Igor Beketov), the leader of SERB; Elena Kokhtareva, who had been convicted in the now-famous Bolotnaya Case; and Igor Brumel, a Moscow city deputy for the Zamoskvorechye district.
The impetus for the attack was Muse of the Unruly, a civic art exhibition timed to commemorate the anniversary of the massive May 6, 2012 protests in Moscow and other cities of Russia.
Police on duty at the festival made no attempts to intervene while festival participants had to lock themselves in the building. After additional police were called, individuals blocking the entrance to the building were detained, while the festival resumed. The rest of the assailants then dispersed.
Among those detained were five members of SERB, and another three “responding to appeals by the organization to come to the museum.”
Not long prior to the event, artist Sergei Zakharov and Muse of the Unruly had faced threats on social media. One post called for people to come to the Sakharov Center on the morning of May 1 to conduct a “preventive conversation” regarding the festival. Ultra-right-wing activists were especially outraged by the “crafts of Sergei Zakharov, the Kiev character distinguished by anti-Russian and anti-DNR positions.” The messages appeared on social media pages including those of the Russian Imperial Movement (RID) and the group Veterans of Novorossia.