Nashi activists detained at border

The Baltic Times
Laima Vaiga, VILNIUS

Two members of the pro-Kremlin youth group Nashi were detained by authorities on Dec. 31 for attempting to illegally cross into Lithuania from Belarus. The Varena city district court subsequently authorized their arrest for the period of two months.

Nashi “Commissars” Konstantin Goloskokov and Anton Dugin crossed the Lithuanian-Belarusian border in the Varena district on the evening of Dec. 31, BNS and the Lietuvos Zinios daily reported. Officials, however, wouldn”t confirm their names when contacted by The Baltic Times.

At about 6 p.m. on New Year”s Eve, Lithuanian border patrol officers noticed footprints coming from the direction of the Belarusian territory and leading to Kalviu village. The suspects were apprehended within one kilometer of the border.

Lithuanian media reports that the two were on their way to Estonia to participate in protests related to the Bronze Soldier monument in Tallinn.

The monument to Soviet soldiers was moved from central Tallinn to a military cemetery in April, 2007, which provoked unrest among Estonia”s Russianspeaking population.

Since then about ten activists from the Nashi movement have made trips to Estonia to stand on the socalled “memory guard” at the former site of the monument. All of them have been deported from Estonia and banned from entry into the Schengen area.

Goloskokov was banned from the EU and U.S. after he admitted organizing cyber attacks against Estonia”s public institutions in April.

Spokesman for the State Border Guard Service Rokas Pukinskas said that two activists were detained for two days, after which the Varena district court issued an arrest warrant for two months. Goloskokov is being held in Vilnius

Varena”s Prosecutor General Audrius Matulionis said the procedural steps that follow depend on pretrial investigation results and actions on the side of Estonian officials.

The Estonian government had previously rejected the visa applications of Goloskokov and Dugin. Goloskokov responded by a weeklong hunger strike at the Estonian embassy in Moscow, and when that failed to impress Estonian authorities, he made a promise to visit Estonia anyway.

Punishment for illegal border crossing in Lithuania ranges from a fine to arrest and imprisonment for up to two years.