A few months ago, Anton Ilyushchenko saw some photos on the website of a nightclub in his hometown in southwestern Siberia. They were, he felt, pretty gross: Unflattering pictures of average Ivans and Ivankas engaging in sweaty stripteases and scenarios of greasy sensual congress.
On his site, he declared the club, called Everest, “one of the seediest places in our city.”
Of course the shamefully funny gallery immediately went viral — and not just in Russia either, as this post on Reddit proves.
Unfortunately for Ilyushchenko, the owner of the "seediest" bar in Omsk is a former policeman.
In the true Cold War style, Ilyushchenko soon received a late-night phone call during which he was instructed to show up at the “Lenin” police station to answer questions about illicit narcotics distribution (which the police, when he showed up, claimed to know nothing about).
Instead, he was told that he had broken public decency laws.
Later, he wrote:
I posted on my blog only links to photos that already exist online. Why don't our authorities want to bother looking for the author of these photographs or the organizers of these events? Rather they want to accuse the person who pointed a finger at the lawlessness taking place over two years right under their noses. I think this is absolutely judicial arbitrariness and a provocation on the part of the authorities."
Though Ilyushchenko immediately deleted the photos, three months later he was charged with “Illegal distribution [and] public demonstration of pornographic materials made with the use of information-communicational Internet site." That offense carries a sentence of 2 to 6 years in prison under Article 242 of the Russian criminal code.
Common sense would indicate a far different set of actions for police to have taken with the information Ilyushchenko shared. But as the St. Petersburg magazine, Corpuscula noted, in an article on the situation, “Russia is a country of rampant psychopathy.”
Added Daniel Kenney, in Global Voices Advocacy: “Unfortunately for Ilyushchenko, the courts are unlikely to show him much sympathy, given the Russian legal system's growing hostility for upstart netizen activity.”
In light of the unlikelihood of Ilyushchenko getting a fair trial, he has decided to visit the picturesque neighboring nation of Kazakhstan. He heard it was nice this time of year.