Russian stand-up actress Tatyana Shchukina, who moved to Yerevan, wrote on her Twitter account on June 16 that the Armenian police had launched a political persecution of her and her friends “by the order of the Russian authorities.”
“By the order of Russia, the police arrested my friend, Sveta and her partner, Misha. I hid outside the city. If I am returned to Russia, I will either be imprisoned or killed for joking about Putin, for taking an anti-war stance (meaning Russia’s military operations in Ukraine-ed.), for demonstrations and collaboration with Alexei Navalny,” Shchukina wrote in her microblog.
At the end of the post, Shchukina also asked for political asylum and help.
Some time later, Shchukina made another post in which she said that lawyers had contacted her. They reported that according to the police, the Russian stand-up comedian had witnessed a fight, and that the law enforcement bodies were expecting her to testify in the framework of the initiated criminal case.
In another post, Shchukina denies that she was a participant or witness in any fight.
Fact Investigation Platform has summarized a number of noteworthy information about the scandalous incident.
RA law enforcement bodies about the incident
On the same day, in the evening of June 16, the RA Investigative Committee issued a statement on the incident which specified that a Russian citizen had been detained within the framework of the criminal case initiated on the account of causing bodily injury to a resident of Yerevan.
According to the committee, the mentioned resident was taken to Heratsi University Hospital No. 1 with a diagnosis of “craniocerebral injury” on May 11, 2022. He received that injury on May 10 during a fight over personal issues.
“As a result of the measures taken, a citizen of the Russian Federation was detained on suspicion of committing a publicly dangerous act, and another citizen of the Russian Federation voluntarily came to the RA Erebuni Police Department, who were interrogated about the circumstances of the incident,” the statement reads.
RA Human Rights Defender Kristine Grigoryan also responded in the comments section of Facebook user Andranik Shirinyan’s post on the incident. She wrote that the case is in the center of the ombudsman’s attention.
Who is Shchukina? What did she tell the media?
Tatyana Shchukina presents herself on the Internet as a stand-up comedian with oppositional views. His audience is quite modest for Russian-language content․ About 10,000 users are subscribed to Shchukina’s official YouTube channel. The search on her creative activity or especially on her civic activity in the Russian press did not yield any results.
Today, on June 17, Shchukina tweeted informing that she once worked in the St. Petersburg pre-election headquarters of the well-known Russian opposition figure, politically persecuted Alexei Navalny.
Shchukina appeared in the spotlight of several Russian media outlets with small audiences right after the June 16 incident in Yerevan․ In a comment to the Russian media outlet The Insider, Shchukina reported that days before the war in Ukraine, she learned from one of her close friends working in the special services that criminal prosecution was going to begin against her and it would be better for her to leave the country. At the same time, she notes that no criminal case has been initiated against her, she is not wanted at the moment.
Leaving Russia after the start of the Ukrainian war, Shchukina first went to Turkey, then moved to Armenia. Shchukina also tells that she was busy doing stand-up shows on different platforms in Armenia.
She mentions that while her friends were at the police station, she hid, leaving Yerevan. According to Shchukina, the law enforcement officers demanded that her friend, who voluntarily presented herself to the department, provide her contact information and information about her whereabouts.
On the evening of June 16, Epress.am interviewed Daur Dorjin who presents himself as human rights activist at the police station, who said regarding the issue of Shchukina and her friends that the case “has no visible connection with Russia, Tatiana’s political position or anything like that.” “If such a thing happens, we will inform. The information spread through the media and social networks doesn’t seem true,” the human rights activist said.
In her subsequent posts on Instagram and Twitter, Tatiana Shchukina draws the attention of the Armenian media and human rights activists to the issue she raised in an emotional tone.
Fact Investigation Platform contacted Shchukina providing contact information and offering an interview in a convenient format. There is no response yet. At the moment, no other Armenian media outlet has been able to contact or take a comment from Tatiana Shchukina.
It is also known that several organizations, in particular, the Union of Informed Citizens NGO, have offered legal assistance to Shchukina. UIC informs that the offer has remained unanswered.
Summing up, we can state that Tatyana Shchukina was not in the RA Police due to the case she voiced, her friends left the police on June 16, as of 19:53.
The incident was significantly spread in the Azerbaijani propaganda resources – Minval.az, Vesti.az, etc. They mainly copied the relevant publications of the Russian media, choosing manipulative headlines and presenting Armenia as an unattractive country for Russian migrants.