Who is setting Russia on fire? Radical protest against the war in Russia

Avtozak LIVE tells about every known arson of military enlistment offices, administrative buildings and other objects related to authorities.

The outbreak of war and mobilization provoked nearly two hundred arson attacks on military commissariats and other administrative buildings in Russia. Despite the fact that active phase of mobilization has ended, attacks on administrative facilities are still taking place across the country, and the people accused of them are receiveing huge sentences under terrorism articles. Avtozak LIVE has collected from open sources and analyzed most of the currently known cases of attacks on administrative buildings after the beginning of the war in Ukraine.

Types of buildings attacked

Since the beginning of the war, there have been at least 164 attacks on government-related facilities in Russia. In most cases, military commissariats became the target of attacks. By June 28 we know about 90 attacks on these buildings. Generally, military commissariats were set on fire with Molotov cocktails. In two cases they were shot with traumatic or pneumatic weapons. Among other incidents, inscriptions, broken windows and even throwing bricks should be listed.

Administrative buildings are the second most attacked, having been set on fire 24 times. Among these cases we recorded two arson attempts, which were made by mistake. Some arsonists thought that they were setting fire to the military enlistment office. In one case the arson of Yevpatoria administration building was accompanied by throwing paint on it.
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Attacks’ locations

The most frequent attacks occurred in the Moscow region (12 cases), the Leningrad region (9), Moscow (8) and St. Petersburg (8).

Arsonists’ prosecutions

The authorities almost exclusively initiate criminal cases as a result of attacks on administrative facilities: only two cases resulted in administrative proceedings. Most often — in 44 cases — the actions of arsonists are qualified as attempted crime. This means that a person can be tried for something one has not yet done. For instance, on March 6, 2022, two men were detained in Moscow on their way to an anti-war demonstration. Molotov cocktails were found in the backpack of one of them. At first, the criminal case was opened on «attempted hooliganism with the use of weapons» (part 1 of article 30, part 2 of article 213 of the Russian Criminal Code), but later the charge was reclassified to «preparation of a terrorist act» (part 1 of article 30, paragraph «a» of part 2 of article 205 of the Russian Criminal Code). The men were sentenced to 10 and 8 years in prison.

The most frequent article in cases of attacks on administrative facilities is terrorist act (Article 205 of the Russian Criminal Code). We found at least 43 cases under the article on terrorist act and another 4 under various articles of «terrorist orientation» (205.1 — 205.5 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). The punishment under the article on terrorist acts was toughened in April, and now it is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

In 41 cases the actions were qualified as willful destruction or damage to property (Article 167 of the Russian Criminal Code). This article, depending on the severity of the crime, implies a penalty of up to 5 years in prison.

Less frequently, attacks are characterized as hooliganism, vandalism or sabotage. Responsibility for sabotage was expanded at the end of last year, adding articles that punish training and assistance in sabotage, as well as participation in a «sabotage community». Almost all of the new articles (281.1 through 281.3 of the Russian Criminal Code) carry penalties of up to life imprisonment.

In some cases, people are charged under several articles at once. For example, a young man from Rostov region was sentenced to 4 years in a general regime colony for setting fire to a military recruitment center. He was found guilty under articles on hooliganism (part 2 of article 213 of the Criminal Code) and attempted willful destruction of another person’s property (part 2 of article 167 of the Criminal Code and part 3 of article 30 of the Criminal Code)

In 30 cases of attacks on administrative buildings, according to our data, no suspects have been found or there are no defendants in them yet. In 47 cases a court ruling has been issued, and in 26 of them the verdicts have already entered into force, i.e. have passed the appeal stage.

Below is information on each figurehead that the Avtozak LIVE team was able to gather.

To see all the information, click on the card.

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