Russian stars support Pavel Ustinov

Russia: Actors record messages in support of jailed Pavel Ustinov

Cultural figures consider the sentence of an actor convicted of violence against a government official to be unfair

Russian celebrities launched a major solidarity campaign in support of a young actor who, in their opinion, was unfairly imprisoned in connection with the repression of the opposition.

On Monday, a Moscow court sentenced 23-year-old actor Pavel Ustinov to three and a half years in prison for using violence against a government official during an opposition protest. Ustinov himself claimed that he was just a passer-by.

Following his sentence, the number of people sentenced to two to four years in prison for participating in recent anti-government demonstrations has grown to six..

However, the verdict to Ustinov caused particular indignation due to the fact that the court refused to consider video materials showing an obviously unprovoked attack on the actor by the security forces..

Russian celebrities, most of whom usually do not get involved in politics and have millions of followers on social media, said the case tarnished the reputation of the authorities..

«I think this is a completely fabricated case», – says actor Alexander Pal on Instagram video.

Pal, who helped launch the campaign, believes the video proves Ustinov’s innocence.

The footage from the scene shows how the police in full protective gear attacked Ustinov, who was standing with a phone in his hand at the metro station and beat him with truncheons.

Russian film star Danila Kozlovsky, who appeared in the British television series «McMafia», said that «the monstrous injustice and cynicism with which this is done can affect everyone».

Prominent Russians compare the Ustinov case to that of journalist Ivan Golunov, who was detained in June on trumped-up drug charges.

He was released after an unprecedented solidarity campaign in which three major newspapers came out with the same headline front page «I / We Ivan Golunov».

Likewise, dozens of celebrities and lesser-known personalities have posted the phrase «I / We Pavel Ustinov» on their Instagram accounts.

The campaign included actor Alexander Petrov, who has 2.1 million subscribers, musician Andrei Makarevich and popular blogger Yuri Dud.

Russian stars support Pavel Ustinov

Maxim Galkin, Kremlin-friendly parodist and comedian, named the Ustinov case «colossal overkill» and reputational loss for courts, law enforcement and authorities.

In the comments to the video, Galkin, the husband of pop diva Alla Pugacheva, who has 6.4 million followers on Instagram, noted that he is not interested in politics, but supports freedom..

His video has amassed over 1.2 million views..

Actors from several theaters also supported Ustinov during the curtain-sided bows..

«We think this is a terrible injustice.», – said the director Alexander Molochnikov after the performance of the Chekhov Moscow Art Theater.

And it’s a very rare case: about 40 Orthodox priests spoke out in support of the protests in an open letter published by the Internet publication «Pravmir».

«We consider it our duty to express our conviction in the need to review court decisions in the form of prison terms awarded to a number of defendants "Moscow case"» – the priests write, noting «unprecedented» the severity of the sentences.