June 21, 2023

He Warned Police Would Kill Him. He is Dead


He Warned Police Would Kill Him. He is Dead
Anatoly Berezikov. Rimma Maslak, Twitter.

The anti-Kremlin activist Anatoly Berezikov was known in Rostov-on-Don as the man who rode his bike around town wearing nothing but shorts in the harsh winter, distributing anti-war pamphlets on his rides. Police detained and tortured him. Berezikov warned his lawyers he would be killed. He was found dead the day before he was to be released. Police quickly claimed he committed suicide.

Born in Shatura, Berezikov had a passion for noise music that led him to Rostov-on-Don's experimental music scene. He collaborated on noise synths with local music legend Papa Srapa (Eduard Srapionov) while making a living as a repairman. Berezikov didn't mention the war in his Telegram channel but attended protests calling for political prisoner Alexei Navalny's release and openly opposed Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Bereznikov took part in the Ukrainian project Khochu Zhit (I Want to Live), putting up posters warning Russians of the consequences of enlisting in the army. That was when he was detained for "treason."

On May 11, the FSB raided Berezikov's home without explanation, destroyed his things, and beat and arrested him. While in custody, Berezikov reported the police's rape and death threats to his lawyer, Irina Gak, and to activist Tatyana Sporysheva. He also showed the women taser shock marks that guards had left behind with their abuse. According to Sporysheva, Berezikov said, "I'm scared they'll kill me, and I won't live to see my exit from the detention center, that is, I won't live to see June 15."

On June 14, when she arrived to visit her client, Gak was told that Berezikov was not in the detention center. Gak only learned her client was dead when she saw his body being carried to an ambulance.

On the day he died, Berezikov, known as Anatoly Ryk in the local music scene, was set to perform at Moscow's "Noise and Fury" festival.

 

 

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